P&J Productions celebrates 10 years of theater

A local artistic production company is going to try to pack a decade of memories and music into one night as it celebrates a milestone.

P&J Productions and the Altoona Mirror will present “A Night of Music and Memories” at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona on Sept. 10.

The show will feature guest soloists, speakers and more, according to the Mishler website.

P&J, which stands for the partnership of area businessman Neil Port and composer Will Jones, this year celebrates 10 years of bringing quality shows to Blair County audiences.

The shows have ranged from musicals that Jones wrote to Broadway plays and Las Vegas-style reviews.

Kate Shaffer, executive director of the Blair County Arts Foundation that oversees the Mishler, said the group is excited about the upcoming anniversary celebration for P&J.

“Our region is richly blessed with talented arts organizations, dedicated to presenting wonderful programming to Mishler Theatre patrons,” she said. “The Blair County Arts Foundation is looking forward to congratulating P&J Productions on its 10th anniversary and having the opportunity of thanking them for introducing so many new audience members to our fabulous theater.”

Port, who is also a musician, met Jones in 2005 when both were auditioning for “The Music Man.” Together they formed their production company, starting with performances of shows Jones wrote such as “Sherwood: The Musical Adventures of Robin Hood” and “A Christmas Caroled,” Port said.

“We’ve had hundreds of performances at the Mishler Theatre and we’ve had very positive feedback from literally tens of thousands of people over the years from the theatergoers who come to see the shows, many who return year after year,” he said. “We also get great feedback from the actors in the shows. These kids, the people who are in the shows, this is something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”

Jones said he and Port planned to support charitable causes such as WALY-Warmth and Christmas Carol, both operated by Forever Media, from the inception of P&J.

“Neil and I are very proud of the donations P&J Productions has given to local charities over the last 10 years,” he said. “This has always been an integral part of P&J’s business model.”