BRANSON, Mo. One of Branson’s most popular shows is the Shoji Tabuchi Show which has been entertaining audiences in Branson, in its own theatre, for going on 23 years. Starting out as an eight year old performer, Shoji’s daughter, Christina Lingo Tabuchi, has been singing and dancing with her dad for just about everyone of those years and has developed into an extraordinary singer and dancer who is the shows Vocal Director and Co-Captain of the Dancers. In addition to performing with the Shoji Tabuchi show this very personable young lady is also in the process of developing a solo career.
BTC was fortunate to catch up with her before she left Branson for Nashville, where she resides when not performing or working in Branson. In the “off season” Christina will not only be working on projects for her solo career, but will also be involved with the production, auditioning and costume designing for the show and the buying of merchandise for the theatres gift shop. The Shoji Tabuchi Show will open its 2012 season on April 13th.
“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 Christina Lingo Tabuchi (CT) uses a “Question and Answer” format with the interviewing being done for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) by Gary J. Groman, a 26 year resident of the Branson area, local columnist and free lance writer.
BTC: At what age did you first start singing and dancing?
CT: I started singing and dancing when I was three and started performing for audiences when I was five. My first non-school performances were on the stage of “Country Music World” when Bill and Janet Daily would let me perform.
BTC: When did you first start performing in the Shoji Tabuchi Show?
CT: In 1989 when we started our own show in the old “auto show” building. [It is the theatre currently located behind the Olive Garden Restaurant.]
BTC: Do you remember the first number you performed?
CT: Oh absolutely. The first song I ever sang on stage in front of people was Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man.” For the Shoji Tabuchi Show I believe that the very first song I sang was “Swinging on a Star.”
BTC: What part of this year’s Shoji Tabuchi Show did you personally enjoy performing the most and why?
CT: That’s really hard, but I really had a fun time doing “Undo It” by Carrie Underwood with two of the dancers Cory Hansen and Brandt Brinkley in the regular show. Although I know that anybody who knows me and is going read this will laugh, one of my favorite parts in the Christmas Show was dancing and doing the polka to “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells.”
BTC: What is your first memory of Branson?
CT: It’s funny because when you say that, instantaneously, I think of Shepherd of the Hills [Expressway] being a dirt road and the charcoal plant.
BTC: What do you like to do most in Branson when you are not performing?
CT: I’m kind of a homebody. I just enjoy resting and relaxing with family and friends
BTC: What do you like best about performing in Branson?
CT: My family’s here. It can’t get any better than that. I’ve always loved hanging out with my parents so it’s just been a dream for me. Another thing I love is the great family atmosphere of Branson. It is a great place to visit and a great place to live.
BTC: If you could perform or meet with any one entertainer/person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
CT: I don’t know. How I am supposed to pick between George Jones and Dolly Parton.
BTC: Let’s take them both.
CT: George Jones was a favorite of my “Nanny,” my mom’s mom. That’s who she listened to and pretty much what I was raised on. I just think he’s amazing. And Dolly Parton is just amazing. She’s an entertainer, entrepreneur, writes her own music, plays guitar, has a great sense of humor, acts and is involved with the whole range of entertainment. I just respect her a lot.
BTC: In your career, of all the performances you have been in, no matter how big or small, which one personally meant the most to you and why?
CT: You know, it kind of makes me a little teary, but it was when me, mom and dad were all three doing the show together. Take any one of those.
BTC: Do you have a favorite hobby or activity and what is it?
CT: I seriously love just hanging around with my family, friends and dogs.
BTC: What kind of dogs?
CT: Rescued mutts. I have a little wired hair terrier, his name is “Gus” and little poodle, schnauzer terrier mix and her name is “Petunia.”
BTC: Do you have a “little known” fact about yourself that you think our readers would enjoy?
CT: I am obsessed with cup cakes.
BTC: What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in front of an audience?
CT: Oh, good grief. One that sticks out was during our first year of shows when I was about eight years old. While dad was playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” I came out from behind a little “Candy Land” house that was wheeled out and sang with him. This one day, I got the hiccups and had them all during the song. The audience was laughing during the whole song. I remember thinking, “Oh, they’re laughing at me” and they said, “No they’re laughing because it’s cute and you have the hiccups and can’t get rid of them.”
BTC: What is your favorite genre of music?
CT: I can’t pick just one. I love all types of music.
BTC: In addition to being a performer in the Shoji Tabuchi Show, what other duties do you perform in connection with the show?
CT: I am the Vocal Director for the theatre, the Co Captain of the Dancers and am involved with some of the costume designing, back stage management and the buying of merchandise for the gift shop. In addition, I hold the auditions for singers and dancers for the show.
BTC: Are there any special projects you have on tap for next year that you would like to share with our readers?
CT: I have a new album that will be released next year and will be available when we start our 2012 season on April 13th. I am also working on two other albums, a duet album with friends and a Christmas album.
BTC: Are you on Facebook andhttp://ww Twitter?
CT: I sure am. www.facebook.com/pages/Christina-Lingo/75740939185 and www.twitter.com/ChristinaLingo
BTC: Anything else you want our readers to know?
CT: Plan to come and see our show next year, you’ll have a great time and there’s something for everybody.
BTC: Can you give us a hint of what will be in the show next year?
CT: We haven’t had our production meetings for next year yet, but I guarantee that it will be a great show!