McPherson College’s theater department is celebrating key milestones this year. 

The school is marking its 100th season of theater, and professor J.D. Bowman, who is directing the upcoming “Lend Me A Tenor,” realized this upcoming performance is also his 100th production at McPherson College.

“I was kind of floored by that, because I don’t fell like I’ve been here that long,” Bowman said. “...I am celebrating that. It feels like a milestone for me. It’s wonderful and coincidental that those two things lined up together.”

Bowman first became involved with McPherson College’s theater program as a student. After graduating, he acted professionally before returning to campus to teach. And he has acted, directed, produced and designed his way through 100 shows at the college.

Directing “Lend Me A Tenor” gave Bowman the challenge of shepherding not one, but three casts — a cast of McPherson College students, a cast of alumni and a blended cast of both.

“Our alumni are so generous. They give their time,” Bowman said. “...It’s always really nice to see them come back and do this.”

Bowman remembers the tradition of a production with alumni  from his days as a student. 

“I was always impacted by that in terms of my art,” Bowman said.

Bowman says he feels having alumni play the same roles as students gives the undergrads a chance to learn that people can interpret a character very differently and still have a valid — and often funny — take on the part.

In “Lend Me A Tenor,” a world-renowned opera singer is nowhere to be found minutes before his big performance. So the bumbling Max dons the costume — and persona — of the singer to impress his girlfriend’s father. 

“It’s fun to do this one as the 100th show, because it does represent my style,” Bowman said. “It’s funny and physical and irreverent.”

The show is a comedy that features people falling in love and mistaken identities.

“It’s been a little while since we’ve done a door-slamming farce,” Bowman said.

The show’s three casts will ensure a different experience for audiences at each performance. 

“We thought we’d have fun performing for our homecoming crowd,” Bowman said. “...I can guarantee that no matter what night they attend, they’re going to have a blast.”

Bowman said he is proud to be a part of the faculty at McPherson College.

“I really feel passionate about McPherson College and the program that we have here. I’m so glad that I have reached a marker with an employer that I believe in,” Bowman said.

“Lend Me A Tenor” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Oct 18 by a cast of McPherson College students, at 7:30 p.m. on Oct 19 by a cast of McPherson College alumni and at 7:30 p.m. on Oct 20 by a blended cast of students and alumni. Tickets are $3.50 for seniors and students, $5 for adults general admission

For tickets and more information, call the McPherson College box office at 620-242-0444.

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at pmiddleton@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.