Stage Door News
New York: Toronto’s Greg Robic, now an authentic rakugo master, has opened a show in New York
Monday, September 23, 2019
With a minimal set, Katsura Sunshine's Rakugo features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, kneeling on a cushion, using only a fan and a hand towel for props, entertains the audience with a comic monologue followed by a traditional story.
Recently the emcee of the G20 in Osaka, Katsura Sunshine brings the tradition of Rakugo to Times Square and is often called the King of Kimono Comedy. Rakugo is the 400-year-old Japanese traditional art of comic storytelling. Currently there are only 800 Rakugo Masters. Hailing from Canada, Sunshine is the only Western Rakugo Master in the world and star of NHK Worldwide, he is charming, universally funny and yet so very Japanese. Sunshine is the perfect performer to bridge the gap between the East and the West, in a hilarious style.
Rakugo is a 400-year-old tradition of comic storytelling in Japan. A minimalistic performance art, Rakugo features a lone storyteller dressed in kimono, kneeling on a cushion, who, using only a fan and a hand towel for props, entertains the audience with a comic monologue followed by a traditional story where the storyteller performs several characters.
Katsura Sunshine Biography
Katsura Sunshine was born Gregory Robic 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 tour of central and eastern Canada.
Sunshine went to Japan in 1999 to pursue studies in Japanese theatre.
On September 1st , 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 both 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 travelled to Paris to present Japanese culture, as well as featuring in a video which was 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.
Learn more at www.rakugo.lol.
New World Stages - 340 W. 50th St., NYC
Now Playing Thursdays & Saturdays at 8PM
$35 – September 19 – October 19
$39 – October 26 - November 23
Photo: Katsura Sunshine. © 2018.