Recollections take the stage Jan. 18



The third Thursdays of the month will soon enjoy a catchy jingle or two.

The historic Port Theatre will host the 2018 edition of “Thursdays at the Theatre” beginning next Thursday.

With the schedule set through April, the Port Theatre Arts and Activity Center non-profit has fulfilled a mission of expanding offerings for 2018.

The shows booked through April showcase performers who have, save for one instance, not yet appeared on the stage at the historic theater.

Thursdays at the Theatre has a dual purpose: to expand the arts offerings in the county and to put a spotlight in the potential of the Port Theatre, which sits on the National Registy of Historic Places.

As much as the Port of Port St. Joe has been identified by state economic development officials as a key to unlocking the region’s economic potential, the Port Theatre, just a few years ago, was identified by state officials as key to growing downtown Port St. Joe.

The building, with its huge indoor space, theater seating and acoustics artists raved about last year, is envisioned as a hub of arts activity by state officials gathered to identify the community’s economic and historic assets.

“That theater can be a real diamond to anchor downtown,” said Bill Killingsworth of the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The theater, which opened in 1938, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

As the PTAAC pursues funding to renovate the theater, Thursdays at the Theatre was an easy and fun way to highlight the theater.

“The goal is to create more awareness of the historic Port Theatre and the possibilities it brings to the community as a showcase for various talent,” said Natalie Shoaf of the PTAAC.

“Getting together to enjoy music and the arts is the goal of this venue.”

Heading into its second year, the series has already played host to an album launch for the Bo Spring Band, as well as popular artists such as The Krickets, The Currys and Charlie and Dana Black.

“We are expanding the reach of the musical talent for Thursday events,” said Natalie Shoaf of the PTAAC.

“The reception from the community was overwhelming, with several of the concerts (last year) exceeding the 340 capacity in attendance.”

This year’s series kicks off at 7 p.m. ET Jan. 18 with Tony Partington and The Recollections.

Partington formerly owned the Dixie Theatre in Apalachicola and has a career spanning more than three decades which includes regional theater, movies and television.

He studied classical voice and has presented recitals in concert halls around the country.

The Recollections are veteran musicians with well over a century of experience and have a wide repertoire, including jazz, Broadway, oldies, classic rock, Blues, gospel, folk and Italian love songs.

General admission is $10 with the doors opening at 6:45 p.m. ET; the show starts at 7 p.m.

VIP tickets are available at $25 per person for early entrance at 6 p.m. ET, a meet-and-greet with performers, preferred seating a drink ticket.

There is a cash beer and wine bar available.

Shoaf emphasized the theater is “a casual venue, so feel free to bring hors d’oeuvres and your dancing shoes.”

The PTACC was formed in 2011 and gained ownership of the Theatre in 2015, aided by a state historic preservation grant.

The organization seeks to revitalize, largely through a grassroots effort.

The Port Theatre project is ranked in the top 7 in the most recent rankings by a state historic preservation board, appearing to be in line for $500,000 from the Florida Legislature in the early months of 2018 to continue renovation of the facility.