Christina Takes More Active Role

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Christina Lingo-Tabuchi and her father, Shoji Tabuchi, have been entertaining visitors to Ozark Mountain Country for more than 20 years as co-stars of their own show. Throughout that time, Shoji has watched his daughter slowly but surely move to a leadership role in the family business.
“I like the fact she is taking over,” Shoji Tabuchi said. “She needs to. She is very good at what she does. I don’t have to do anything; she takes care of me.”
In addition to being a featured performer, Lingo-Tabuchi is also co-dance captain and helps produce the show. Throughout the past few years, Christina has been implementing more contemporary music like Bruno Mars and Adele, as well as classics from Michael Jackson.
“He didn’t want to do it at first,” she said of her father playing the Michael Jackson song “Smooth Criminal” in the show. “I just kept on and kept on until he said, ‘Yes,’ and it has been a hit, and people are really enjoying it.”
While she is taking care of much of the production side of things, Lingo-Tabuchi is also charged with taking care of her father, a job she takes pride in.
“From the bottom of my heart, I do believe that when I walk into this building it is my job to take care of him,” she said. “Whatever he needs, especially when we’re out on the road, I turn into mama bear.”
As Lingo-Tabuchi has moved up in the company, her father’s responsibilities have become less taxing.
“He likes for his jacket to appear, his mic to appear and then enter and exit stage right,” Lingo-Tabuchi said with a laugh. “Then he’s good. He has worked long enough and hard enough, he deserves to be able to do that.”
Tabuchi seeing his daughter take such a role, off stage, as well as on, makes him feel better about her future, he said.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to be here — forever, I hope,” he said. “She needs to establish herself (as an entertainer) and she can do it.”
Lingo-Tabuchi’s production prowess is about to kick into high gear as they prepare to begin performing their annual Christmas shows, considered to be the most elaborate in the area.
“Christina lined everything up and, oh boy, she is taking charge,” Tabuchi said. “She makes the show, then (her mother) Dorothy approves it. She can spot the smallest things from the crowd.”
While his wife, Dorothy Tabuchi, the show’s main producer, is usually away tending to other parts of the Tabuchi family business, she will return to put the finishing touches on her daughter’s work.
“I can’t believe Wednesday is our last show,” Lingo-Tabuchi said. “I put the Christmas show together and taught it, but as far as the tech side of the show, that’s all (Dorothy).
“She’s the one who sits out (in the theater) and her eye makes sure all the lights and costumes are right and uniform. She’s the best at making sure everything is exactly where it needs to be.”
It is that attention to detail that has helped Shoji Tabuchi remain a major draw in the Branson entertainment scene. The violinist, who was born and raised in Daishoji, Japan, started taking violin lessons at the age of 7, and his musical taste was turned around when he saw Roy Acuff perform in Japan.
Shoji Tabuchi hit the shores of America in 1967 with $500 in his pocket and a violin case full of dreams. Tabuchi performed in San Francisco for a time before relocating to Kansas City.
Since moving into his own theater in 1990, Shoji Tabuchi has consistently remained one of the top draws in the Live Music Show Capital of the World.
Even though the landscape of the area is changing every year, the Tabuchi’s remain staples of the scene.
“I am so appreciative and thankful that I’ve been able to stay here and perform,” he said. “It is all because of the support of the people who live in Branson and who visit. To me, I still enjoy it, and if God gives me the opportunity to play another 20 years, I would love to do it.”
Now that he has a team in place to take away some of the workload, he can concentrate more on his other passion, which is golf.
“I shot my lowest game ever at Payne Stewart,” Shoji Tabuchi said. “I finally broke 90. I shot an 89, and I am so happy because it is a hard course.”
The “Shoji Tabuchi Show” will host its last regular performance at 3 P.M. Wednesday, October 23. The Christmas show will begin at 7:30 P.M. Friday, November 1. For more information on Shoji Tabuchi, visit Shoji.com. For tickets, call 417-334-7469.

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