Dorothy and Shoji Tabuchi.
BRANSON, MO, April 3, 2013 — For 25 years the Shoji Tabuchi Show has set the standard adding the WOW and meaning to the term “production show” in Branson. It is one of the most popular shows in Branson because of the combination of talent and charisma of its star, Shoji Tabuchi; his supporting cast featuring his very talented daughter Christina; one of the best bands in Branson and great production, choreography, costuming and leading edge special effects.
During all of those years and before, the person behind that production has been the beautiful and talented wife of Shoji, Dorothy Tabuchi. Her passion and love of the arts, entertainment and her family and its talents, come to life in her spectacular productions that have brought joy, excitement, inspiration and entertainment to countless thousands over the years. We were fortunate enough to get a few minutes with this very special lady while she was taking a break from the hectic preparations for the 2013 25th Anniversary opening of the Shoji Tabuchi Show on April 19.
“Branson – Up Close and Personal,” is a service of the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, and is intended to provide readers with an up close and personal look at a Branson star or personality. The interview with Dorothy Tabuchi (DT) uses a “Question and Answer” format with the interviewing being done for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) by Gary J. Groman, a 27 year resident of the Branson area, local columnist and free lance writer.
BTC: What’s the one thing you want most for people to know about Dorothy Tabuchi?
DT: I care greatly about people.
BTC: How and when did you first come to Branson?
DT: I first came to Branson from Louisiana on vacation somewhere in the early 1980s, fell in love with it and as they say, “The rest is history.”
BTC: What do you like best about Branson?
DT: Wow, let me think about that for a minutes because there are so many things that I like. That’s why we live, work and have our home here. I love the people, their kindness, hospitality and consideration of others and the “electricity” of Branson’s phenomenal entertainment .
BTC: What is your favorite thing to do in Branson when not involved with the show?
DT: For me, ever since we started the show, it seems like it has been 24/7 involvement with the show. I truly enjoy the little bit of spare time that I do have simply relaxing with family and friends.
BTC: How did you get involved in the entertainment industry?
DT: I have always loved anything to do with the arts. That love turned into an occupation after Shoji and I got married and I had the opportunity to be immersed in the entertainment business. It started with me attending the majority of his shows as he performed in other theatres, helping to produce elements of his performance, as well as others, and it came to full fruition as we developed and presented our own show. Along the way I have done everything from responding to Shoji’s fan mail, selling merchandise while on the road, emceeing, singing and dancing in the show, working with costume and set designers, choreographers, sound and lighting designers and, of course, the production of the show.
BTC: When you are producing a show what is it you strive for most?
DT: To surround the fabulous entertainers that Shoji and Christina are with a production that will excite and have the audience feeling a special magic and electricity as they experience the show. To have those who have never seen the show saying, “I have never seen anything like this” and have those who have seen the show before saying, “Wow, I didn’t think it could get any better, but it just did.”
BTC: When did you construct the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre?
DT: We started the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre in 1989 in what was the previous auto museum on 76 Hwy. In 1990, we built our new theatre on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway. This year, we are proudly celebrating The Shoji Tabuchi Theatre’s 25th year anniversary.
BTC: What part did being able to do production numbers in your show play in the design and building of the Theatre?
DT: A lot. I love to build the anticipation up to the WOW and see the look on people’s faces when the unexpected happens. This theatre was designed so that we have the physical capability to have sets and do production numbers that combine with the great talent of Shoji, Christina and our other entertainers and musicians to provide our audiences with that WOW through a unique combination of a production and concert show.
BTC: How long have you been producing the Shoji Tabuchi Show?
DT: For over 25 years plus years. As I shared earlier, I started by putting together some of the production numbers Shoji and others did even prior to us opening our own show and we have been doing our own show for 25 years.
BTC: What is the first thing you consider when planning the production of the show?
DT: Giving our customer a WOW experience, something they will never forget. I know it’s repetitive, but it’s true, I want the new people coming to the show for the first time to say, “This is the best show I’ve ever seen.” I want the people who are returning to say, “I did not think it could get any better, but it just did.”
BTC: What percentage of the show do you try to change from year to year?
DT: There is no set percentage of change. Each year’s production is a healthy balance of those numbers that people have told us on the comment cards that they like and want to see again as well as new numbers and productions that fulfill us in terms of innovation and keeping the show fresh and exciting for our audience.
BTC: What are the three things that you would not even consider leaving out of the show and why?
DT: The Patriotic Finale because it honors our great Nation and those who have and are sacrificing so much defending Her; the tribute to our son Jason, who we lost at age 19 because it is a comfort to us and to those, who like us, have lost someone they love and Shoji playing the “Orange Blossom Special,” because of its excitement and the special place it occupies in the history of fiddle playing.
BTC: Does the fact that your husband and daughter star in the show present any unique production challenges or opportunities?
DT: Not really. When I have a passion for something it drives me and I have a personal passion for my husband and daughter and a professional passion for their skill, what they do and how they do it. It is a joy and a blessing to be able to work with them and the rest of our wonderful cast and crew in producing the show. We have a great respect for each other and what we contribute to the show which keeps the challenges to the minimum and maximizes the opportunities.
BTC: What’s your favorite part about working with Christina in the show?
DT: Having the privilege and blessing of getting to see and work with my daughter on a regular daily basis.
BTC: What’s your favorite part about working with Shoji in the show?
DT: The same thing, having the privilege and blessing of getting to see and work with my husband on a daily basis. How fortunate I am to be able to spend my days working with the two loves of my life. It doesn’t get any better than that!
BTC: What is your favorite part about this year’s show?
DT: There’s a number of them, but I can say without a doubt that it’s the opening number. All I am going to say is “make sure you are in your seats and don’t miss it.”
BTC: Whether in the show or not, what is your favorite number that Shoji plays?
DT: I love “Unchained Melody.” On our anniversary and on my birthday, I wake up and Shoji is standing at the foot of the bed playing “Unchained Melody” on his violin.
BTC: Where and when did you first meet Shoji and what was your reaction?
DT: I met Shoji while vacationing in Branson in 1983 when some friends introduced me to him. For me it was love at first sight and it’s still true, he is the love of my life.”
BTC: How long have you been married?
DT: This year we will be celebrating out 29th Anniversary.
BTC: Anything else you want our readers to know?
DT: We are so blessed as a family to be able to work together doing what we love to do. It is a blessing that we do not take for granted as we strive, each and every show to please our customers and give them an entertainment experience that they will never forget.