The Gathering Place Off Broadway

The Gathering Place Off Broadway

By Lisa Batson

Joe and Cynda Tanner obtained a building in Sparta, Illinois and were going to fix it up and sell it. They had a conversation with Monty Jackson, a singer and songwriter about what do to with the building. During the conversation there was talk about turning the building into a dinner theatre. Joe and Monty proposed this idea to their wives and they all agreed on the new business adventure. The first show was on December 14, 2012 and business has been doing well ever since. The Gathering Place offers a variety of shows from Blues, Gospel, Country, Bluegrass and Oldies. Cynda says, “The onlytypes of entertainment that we do not offer is Hard Rock and Rap.” When asked how they select the entertainment, Cynda says, “We are put in contact with other people and other entertainers. Some names we get off the Internet or Monty knows people and puts us in contact with those individuals.”


She says, “I was driving down the road listening to a comedian on Sirius radio, so I pulled off the road and called right then because he was that hilarious and knew other people would enjoy listening to him." All show prices include meals catered by Classic Catering out of Pinckneyville, Illinois. Classic Catering has been in business for thirty years and customers really enjoy their food. Meals include salad, entrée, dessert, coffee, and tea. Tickets need to be purchased 5 days prior to the event date and include the meal and a show. The Tanner’s had a variety show just recently where coffee and dessert were served and popcorn and soda were available for purchase. Cynda said, “We wanted to try something different during one of the shows to see how well it was taken by customers.” They may do this from time to time, but mostly all shows will be catered meals. Some restrictions at The Gathering Place are no alcoholic beverages are served and no videos can be taken of performers. People appreciate having a relaxing environment where they can focus on the entertainment and not on what they are drinking.


Cynda reported that this business will probably always be a dinner theatre with possibly expanding it with a full kitchen to prepare all the meals at the facility and to hopefully expand the restroom facilities. The Gathering Place is also available to rent for private events, such as showers, meeting, etc. Those renting the space can bring in wine or champaign, but no other alcoholic beverages are allowed.


For a full list of upcoming events, visit their page.


Some upcoming events include:


JUNE 15: Gentlemen Bandits [Blues/Rock/Country Soul]

JUNE 21: Bill Forness [Johnny Cash Tribute]

JUNE 29: Paul Aldrich [Christian Comedian]


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