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June 04, 2014

Lincoln Center Festival Adds Special Events to Heisei Nakamura-za Performances of Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki

Lincoln Center Festival


Eileen McMahon, 212-875-5391

[email protected]






July 1-13, Japanese Artisan Village to offer traditional handicrafts for sale on Lincoln Center’s

Josie Robertson Plaza


July 1, FREE screening of Kanzaburo, a documentary film about the founder of

Heisei Nakamura-za Kabuki troupe


July 5, FREE Saturday family program by Sachiyo Ito & Company to introduce the art of Kabuki and

traditional Japanese dance in the David Rubenstein Atrium


July 9, Lincoln Center Education to hold day-long Kabuki workshop for teachers


June 4, 2014—In celebration of the return of Japan’s leading Kabuki troupe, Heisei Nakamura-za, for its third Lincoln Center Festival appearance, the Festival has added a number of special events to accompany the performances of the classic revenge tale, Kaidan Chibusa No Enoki (The Ghost Tale of the Wet Nurse Tree), July 7-12, at the Rose Theater. These include a picturesque Japanese Artisan Village offering traditional handicrafts for sale on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza (July 1-13); and a FREE screening of Kanzaburo, a documentary film about Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII, the founder of the Heisei Nakamura-za Kabuki troupe, in the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse (July 1, open to a limited number of Heisei Nakamura-za ticket holders only); a FREE Saturday family program by Sachiyo Ito & Company introducing the art of Kabuki and traditional Japanese dance in the David Rubenstein Atrium (July 5); and a day-long Kabuki workshop for teachers presented by Lincoln Center Education (July 9).


Dating back to the 17th century, the Nakamura family is the oldest lineage in Kabuki history, passing the 400-year-old performance traditions from father to son through 19 generations. After the death of Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII, his eldest son, Nakamura Kankuro VI, was elevated to the leadership of this treasured Kabuki dynasty in a historic accession ceremony. In 2004, Heisei Nakamura-za made its sold-out North American debut at Lincoln Center Festival with performances in a portable theater in Damrosch Park, and returned to the Festival in 2007, performing to enthusiastic audiences in Avery Fisher Hall.


Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki is a rarely performed nineteenth-century ghost story about the murder of an artist by a handsome samurai who desires the artist’s wife.  Nakamura Kankuro VI will play three different roles, including the artist, with lightening-speed transformations—sometimes within the same scene.  Running the emotional gamut from drama to slapstick comedy and culminating in a fight-to-the-death under a waterfall, it is Kabuki theater at its most dramatic. 


Tickets: Single tickets for Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki at the Rose Theater, Broadway and 60th Street, beginning at $45, are available now. For more information and to buy tickets, visit or go to the Avery Fisher or Alice Tully Hall box offices, or call CenterCharge, 212-721-6500.




To celebrate the appearance of the legendary Heisei Nakamura-za company, a Japanese Artisan Village reminiscent of Edo-period Japan will be constructed on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza, just outside the David H. Koch Theater. Visitors will find booths specializing in traditional handicrafts for purchase—from wood-fired pottery and textiles to delicately fashioned dolls in kimonos cut from antique fabrics, along with fine cotton towels (tenugui), intricately painted hand fans (sensu), calligraphy, and hair ornaments (kanzashi).


Each of these objects holds a special place in Japanese cultural history. Dolls have a long tradition dating back more than 1,000 years of serving as a symbol for a newborn child, protecting it from illness. Even today they are conspicuously displayed twice a year, on March 3 (for girls) and on May 5 (for boys). When old dolls are discarded, memorial services for them are held at temples and shrines. The Japanese Artisan Village dolls are intricately constructed, using 74 separate steps, involving a body made of wood sawdust strengthened by rice glue, a head shaped by chisels, eyes made of glass, and many coatings to produce just the right sheen. Each doll is dressed in a tiny kimono made from antique kimono fabric.


Tenugui, or thin hand towels made of cotton, are especially relevant in conjunction with the Kabuki performances.  In the past, Kabuki actors wore them as head coverings before wigs became popular and they are still employed as a prop to express sadness. Producing these towels involves three steps: a design is brought to a paper pattern artisan who transfers it onto special handmade carved paper; dyeing artisans then print the pattern onto rolls of bleached cotton cloth folded like an accordion, using a technique called “Oritsuke Chusen,” finally, the printed cotton is cut to become the length of the finished towel. Today, Tenugui are popular gifts in Japan, displayed decoratively in picture frames, and used as napkins, placemats and scarves.


Japanese hair ornaments, or Kanzashi, are another powerful symbol of Japanese culture. Finely crafted, sanded, engraved, embossed and brazed, some are sophisticated, some are simple, but every ornament tells a story. In addition to serving as fashion statements, they were also used as a defensive weapon by women, and therefore made ideal gifts from men. Popular wisdom says that the more a Kanzashi is worn, the more its patina is improved.  Kanzashi are handed down in families as treasured heirlooms.


The Japanese Artisan Village will be open daily from July 1 to 13, from 12 noon until 8 pm Sunday through Thursday, and until 9 pm Friday and Saturday. Sales will be by credit card only




Lincoln Center Festival director Nigel Redden will introduce this documentary about the founder of today’s Heisei Nakamura-za troupe at the screening on July 1 at 6:30 pm in the Stanley Kaplan Penthouse.  Directed by Matsuki Tsukura, the film shows how passionately Eiga Nakamura Kanzaburo spread the art of Kabuki to an international audience as well as to a younger generation.  The documentary used more than 7,000 hours of recorded video in its production.  The film is in Japanese, with English subtitles.  Running time: 95 minutes. Admission to the screening is free, only to ticket holders for the Heisei Nakamura-za performance.




As one of its monthly FREE Meet the Artists Saturday events, on July 5 at 11 am, Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium will present Sachiyo Ito and Company performing elegant Japanese classical dances in a program suitable for families.  The program will includes Kabuki dances from the 19th century, such as Fuji Musume (Wisteria Maiden), and Mitsumen Komori (Three Mask Lullaby) originally staged in 1826 and 1829, various styles of walking by characters in Kabuki plays, as well as use of stage props such as a dance fan. Also a contemporary work choreographed by Sachiyo Ito in Kabuki dance style will be presented.




As part of its Summer Forum for educators, Lincoln Center Education (LCE) will offer a one-day experiential lab on Kabuki on Wednesday, July 9 that includes the matinee performance of Lincoln Center Festival’s Kaiden Chibusa no Enoki.   This lab will use LCE’s approach to aesthetic education, a powerful tool that enhances a deeper and more meaningful appreciation of even the most difficult work of art. With pre- and post-performance activities carefully designed to enhance one’s enjoyment of this world-class performance, one’s role as an audience member will lead to a new ability to appreciate and understand the arts. Before the show, professional teaching artist, Claudia Acosta, will guide the group through an exploration of the artistic process that will open eyes to the choices artists are faced with on a regular basis. After the performance, a collaborative reflection and discussion will conclude the one-day experiential lab. The session is open to artists, educators, and administrators at the tuition rate of $200. To register or to obtain more information, visit  



Heisei Nakamura-za

Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki (The Ghost Tale of the Wet Nurse Tree)

Adapted from a rakugo narrative by San'yutei Encho (1839-1900)

July 7?12, 2014

8 performances, Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall (Time Warner Center, Broadway at 60th Street)

With: Nakamura Kankuro VI, Nakamura Shichinosuke II, Kataoka Kamezo IV, and Nakamura Shido II


The popular Kabuki play Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki is a classic revenge tale, adapted from a 19th-century rakugo narrative by San'yutei Encho. An evil samurai disrupts the happiness of a new family when he falls in love with the wife, kills the husband, and orders the infant son to be murdered, lest the son avenge his father’s murder. The son, saved by the spirit of his father, grows up in safety and unites with an honorable samurai to avenge his father’s death.


Kaidan Chibusa No Enoki is a tour-de-force for the lead actor, Nakamura Kankuro VI.  He is required to play three different roles (the artist Shigenobu, the servant Shosuke, and the villain Uwabami Sanji) in this story of love, plots, and betrayal, culminating in a spectacular fight in a waterfall, in which he essentially fights himself – as he changes instantly between two characters as if by magic. Joining him onstage will be his brother, Nakamura Shichinosuke II, also a noted Kabuki actor, who specializes in onnagata roles, in which a male actor plays a female character (all of the parts in Kabuki theater are played by men).


In addition to the performances, a Japanese Artisan Village located on Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza, just outside Avery Fisher Hall, opens a door onto Japanese culture and the art of Kabuki theater. Each booth specializes in traditional Japanese handicrafts ranging from wood-fired pottery and textiles to delicately crafted dolls and Kanzashi (hair ornaments). The Japanese Artisan Village will be on the plaza for two weeks, from June 30 through July 13.


Actor Nakamura Kankuro VI, age 32, made his first appearance on stage at the age of five in the role of Kozaburo in Omigenji Senjinyakata Moritsunajinya.  He made his debut as Nakamura Kantaro II in 1987 in Kadode Futari Momotaro. In February 2012 at Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre, he succeeded to the honorific name of Nakamura Kankuro VI while playing the role of Chichu (the Spirit of Spider) in Tsuchigumo, and the roles of Kosho Yayoi and the Lion’s Spirit in Shunkyo Kagamijishi. He has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years for his work on stage as well as on film. Nakamura Kankuro VI was last seen at Lincoln Center Festival 2007 in Renijishi and Hokaibo.


Actor Nakamura Shichinosuke II, age 30, made his first stage appearance at age three. He appeared along with his brother in a number of documentary films when they were children. In addition to his roles in Kabuki theater, he is a film actor and played the role of the Meiji Emperor in The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise. In 2009, he and his brother received the Sugimura Haruko Award for the 16th Yomiuri Theatre Award. Nakamura Shichinosuke II was last seen at Lincoln Center Festival 2007 in Renjishi and Hokaibo.


Actor Nakamura Shido II, age 41, the son of Nakamura Shido I, made his first stage appearance at the age of eight.  He gained prominence, as well as numerous awards (including Rookie of the Year), for his performance in the 2002 film, Ping Pong.  Since that time he has balanced his opportunities as a film star with his roles as a Kabuki actor. In 2003 he debuted in the leading role of Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura and Kurumabiki. In 2012, he played the roles of Wakasanosuke and Sadakuro in Kanadehon Chushingura and Taira no Koremochi in Momijigari at the Shimbashi Enbujo Theatre.


Born in 1961, Kataoka Kamezo IV is the son of Kataoka Ichizo V. He made his first stage appearance in 1965, and four years later received his current stage name. One of the great supporting actors in today’s Kabuki world, he performs various roles from comic characters to serious figures. He is a regular member of the Heisei Nakamura-za and returns for the third time to perform at the Lincoln Center Festival.


Heisei Nakamura-za was created in 2000 by Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII, who was of the Nakamura line of Kabuki performers. The goal was to recreate a Kabuki theater of the Edo period (1603-1868), taking formal, stylized kabuki back to its populist roots and restoring, in Kanzaburo’s words, “some of kabuki’s happy-go-lucky, slapstick, naughty quality,” as he told an interviewer the first year the special temporary theater was erected in Asakusa, Tokyo. His sheer passion for Kabuki helped raise the company to the international profile it now holds.


Kanzaburo XVIII tragically died of cancer in December 2012. His eldest son, Kankuro VI, has now succeeded his late father to lead the Heisei Nakamura-za in the 21st century along with his brother Nakamura Shichinosuke II. Continuing their father’s legacy of not only maintaining but also carrying forward this ancient form of Japanese theater, Kankuro, who has trained in Kabuki since birth, has assumed the leading roles especially conventional to the Nakamura family’s repertory, and taken up the leadership of this venerable Kabuki dynasty.  


Kaidan Chibusa No Enoki performance schedule: Monday, July 7 at 7:30 pm; Tuesday, July 8 at 7:00 pm; Wednesday, July 9 at 1:30 and 7:00 pm; Thursday, July 10 at 7:00 pm; Friday, July 11 at 7:00 pm; Saturday, July 12 at 1:30 and 7:00 pm.


Running time: approximately two hours 30 minutes

Performed in Japanese with English synopsis via a headset.




Support for the Lincoln Center Festival 2014 presentation of Heisei Nakamura-za provided by:

Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas)

Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc.

Sumitomo Corporation of Americas

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ

Brother International Corporation

ITOCHU International Inc.

The J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Inc.

Asian Cultural Council

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc.

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal U.S.A., Inc.

Japan Steel Works America, Inc.


Programs and artists subject to change.


Lincoln Center Festival is sponsored by American Express.


Major support provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Lincoln Center Festival 2014 is also made possible by the Polska Music program of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Robert and Helen Appel, Nancy A. Marks, LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, The Skirball Foundation, Larry A. and Klara Silverstein, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Judy & Michael Steinhardt, The Katzenberger Foundation, Inc., The Shubert Foundation, Jennie and Richard DeScherer, The Grand Marnier Foundation, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Brother International Corporation, ITOCHU International Inc., The J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Inc., The Joelson Foundation, Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust, Nancy & Morris W. Offit, Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, Great Performers Circle, Producers Circle, Chairman’s Council, Friends of Lincoln Center, and One Anonymous.


Public support for Festival 2014 is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Endowment support for Festival 2014 is provided by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Nancy Abeles Marks


Artist Catering provided by Zabar’s and


MetLife is the National Sponsor of Lincoln Center


Bloomberg is the Official Sponsor of Lincoln Center Summer Programs


Movado is an Official Sponsor of Lincoln Center


United Airlines is the Official Airline of Lincoln Center


WABC-TV is the Official Broadcast Partner of Lincoln Center


William Hill Estate Winery is the Official Wine of Lincoln Center


“Summer at Lincoln Center” is sponsored by Diet Pepsi


Time Out New York is Media Partner of Summer at Lincoln Center


* * *


Since its inaugural season in 1996, Lincoln Center Festival has received worldwide attention for presenting some of the broadest and most original performing arts programs in Lincoln Center’s history. The 2014 Festival will have 49 performances. Entering its 19th year, the Festival will have presented nearly 1,322 performances of opera, music, dance, theater, and interdisciplinary forms by internationally acclaimed artists from more than 50 countries. To date, the Festival has commissioned more than 42 new works and offered some 139 world, U.S., and New York premieres. It places particular emphasis on showcasing contemporary artistic viewpoints and multidisciplinary works that challenge the boundaries of traditional performance.


Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community relations, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. A presenter of more than 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA offers 15 series, festivals, and programs including American Songbook, Avery Fisher Artist Program, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Books, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Vera List Art Project, Midsummer Night Swing, Martin E. Segal Awards, Meet the Artist, Mostly Mozart Festival, Target Free Thursdays, and the White Light Festival, as well as the Emmy Award-winning Live From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and the 11 resident organizations.  In addition, LCPA led a $1.2 billion campus renovation, completed in October 2012. 


Lincoln Center is committed to providing and improving accessibility for people with disabilities. For information, call the Department of Programs and Services for People with Disabilities at (212) 875-5375





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