KATSURA SUNSHINE'S RAKUGO Extends its Run at New World Stages Through the End of 2023

Sunshine will also continue his West End residency at London’s Leicester Square Theatre 

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Katsura Sunshine continues to bring the 400-year-old Japanese art of Rakugo around the globe as he extends his stay in New York at New World Stages with its next show on February 18, and will run through the end of the year. Sunshine will also continue his West End residency at London's Leicester Square Theatre.

Katsura Sunshine's Rakugo celebrates the 400-year-old Japanese art of comic storytelling and features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, using only a fan and a hand towel for props. He entertains the audience with a comic monologue followed by traditional stories that have been handed down from Master to Apprentice for centuries. Sunshine began performing in New York City in 2019 and was shut down due to the pandemic but returned in March of 2022 and will continue the run through the end of the year.

"Ever since I first arrived in Japan, 25 years ago, I have wanted to share my love of the culture, food, and people with the rest of the world. I am honored to be able to continue bringing Rakugo to New York and London for 2023. We have big plans we are getting ready to announce but, in the meantime, I look forward to 2023 by introducing in new audiences around the world to the art of Rakugo." Rakugo Master, Katsura Sunshine

"When we started back up in 2022 after the pandemic shut down, I was very wary if our audience would return. I can honestly say that all of my hopes were exceeded, and I am beyond excited to extend the show through 2023." Executive Producer, Joe Trentacosta

The Apprenticeship:

In order to become a recognized professional Rakugo storyteller, one must apprentice to a Rakugo Master, from whom one receives a stage name. The apprenticeship lasts for three to four years and is very strict. Depending on the master, the apprentice may not drink, smoke, or go on dates and is subject to a strict curfew during the apprenticeship period. The apprentice cleans the master's house, does laundry, cooking, preparing and folding kimonos, and other chores, and learns the art of storytelling by watching the master perform and imitating. Throughout one's career, one is only allowed to perform a given story once a master storyteller has granted permission to do that story.

Free tickets for students:

As part of his efforts to expand the reach of Rakugo around the world, Sunshine and his producers and a group of donors subsidize tickets for school age kids (through college), making it free for those still in school to attend a performance, for more information visit Rakugo.lol/students

Katsura Sunshine's Rakugo has set design by Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, lighting design by Yuki Nakase Link, and is presented by Joe Trentacosta and Yoshitaka Tanaka with artistic producer Marie Fukuda in association with Yumi Shinozaki. General Management by LDK Productions/Lisa Dozier.

Katsura Sunshine

was born in Toronto, Ontario, to parents of Slovenian origin. He studied Classics at the University of Toronto, specializing in Ancient Greek Theatre. In September 1995, his version of Aristophanes' "Clouds" opened at the Poor Alex Theatre in Toronto and ran for 15 months before embarking on a central and eastern Canada tour. Sunshine went to Japan in 1999 to pursue studies in Japanese theatre. On September 1, 2008, he was accepted as an apprentice to the great Rakugo storytelling Master, Katsura Bunshi VI (then named Katsura Sanshi), and received from his Master the Rakugo name Katsura Sunshine. Sunshine is the first-ever Western Rakugo storyteller in the history of the "Kamigata" Rakugo tradition, based in Osaka, and only the second ever in the history of Japan. He has performed in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand, Nepal, Ghana, Senegal, Gabon, South Africa, as well as throughout Japan. He had his West End debut at the Leicester Square Theatre and his off-Broadway debut at the SoHo Playhouse for three weeks each in 2017. In 2019 Sunshine was part of the successful bid of the city of Osaka for the 2025 World Fair, for which he traveled to Paris to present Japanese culture and featuring in a video played on the final voting day. He received praise from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for this work, particularly for the video presentation. Also, in 2019, Sunshine was chosen to be Master of Ceremonies at the opening reception of the G-20 Summit in Osaka. Sunshine currently divides his time between New York and Tokyo.

Photo credit: Russ Rowland


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