Larry Blum

The Chutzpah! Festival is back for its 12th year of showcasing world-renowned artists in a vibrant celebration of the performing arts from February 11 to March 4. Chutzpah! Plus (March 6 to 11), offers an additional opportunity for audiences to experience outstanding theatrical performance. I enjoyed attending some of the excellent and innovative dance performances last year and recommend finding something you wouldn’t ordinarily see, and GO!

Chutzpah’s Artistic & Managing Director, Mary-Louise Albert says, “We’re thrilled to present one of our most dynamic and eclectic festivals to date featuring some of the world’s finest artists, two multi-run plays, and numerous Vancouver, Canadian and World premieres. Chutzpah! continues to expand, opening up the Festival to include more Lower Mainland venues in its embrace. This year Chutzpah! returns to the Commodore Ballroom and the Firehall Arts Centre in addition to ongoing residence at the Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre, and will also be presenting shows in new venues  – the Electric Owl on Main Street and in Richmond’s River Rock Theatre, one of the region’s best theatre spaces. There’s so much to experience at Chutzpah! 2012, and we invite everyone to immerse themselves in the depth and breadth of the amazing performances in store.”

Here are several events to keep in mind for the 12th edition:

Warsaw Village Band. Photo by Bartek Muracki
[Warsaw Village Band. Photo by Bartek Muracki]

A Blessing on the Moon, The Colour of Poison Berries featuring the Warsaw Village Band
(February 11 – 13, Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre)
The festival kicks off with the world premiere of the musical and theatrical adaption of Joseph Skibell’s acclaimed novel, A Blessing on the Moon. Directed by Jim Calder with music composed by Andy Teirstein, the production features Poland’s multi-instrumental Warsaw Village Band and five singer/actors. This is the powerful and magical tale of Chaim Skibelski’s afterlife search for peace and wisdom.

Hadag Nahash with special guests Santa Lucia
(February 25, Commodore Ballroom)
One of the most successful acts in Israeli popular music today will make its Vancouver premiere at Chutzpah! Famous for their songs of political and social protest, this band’s music features acoustic instruments driven by funk, hip hop, and Hebraic beats. Hadag Nahash (translation: Snake Fish) has toured internationally and has shared stages with the Black Eyed Peas. Vancouver’s own Santa Lucia opens the show.        
Lullabies from Exile – Yair Dalal and Lenka Lichtenberg with Fray
(February 12, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre)
Lullabies from Exile is a collaboration between two extraordinary global musicians: Toronto based Lenka Lichtenberg and Israeli Yair Dalal, backed by Lenka’s six piece ensemble, Fray. Together they create a musical “interchange” – a brilliant convergence of Dalal’s Babylonian traditions and Lichtenberg’s Ashkenazi roots. 
Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You – A Musical Journey of Life in the Theatre starring Warren Kimmel
(February 26, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre)
An eclectic, funny, and bittersweet music cabaret-style show chronicling Warren Kimmel’s remarkable theatrical career and journey from South Africa to BC. Travel with the performers from Africa to Canada as Warren tries to answer his mother’s eternal question: “Why couldn’t you have studied medicine? You had the grades!”

The Sway Machinery. Photo by Scott Irvine
[The Sway Machinery. Photo by Scott Irvine]
The Sway Machinery
(February 18, Electric Owl)
Chutzpah! heads to Main Street to showcase The Sway Machinery, a NYC blues/world beat-Chazzanus ensemble who’ve managed to reconcile the disparate influences of ancient Jewish spiritualism and contemporary Islamic African blues into a magically charged-up sound all their own. Their music bursts with a hip blend of modern rhythmic power and ancient folklore.
Idan Raichel and Vieux Farka Touré Quartet
(April 29, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre)
A very special post–festival Chutzpah! concert, this Vancouver premiere features Israeli Idan Raichel’s mesmerizing, global blend of contemporary sounds together with one of the most celebrated African guitarists of our time, Vieux Farka Touré. Their ground-breaking quartet includes bassist Amit Carmeli and percussionist Souleymane Kané. Chutzpah! is excited to welcome Idan Raichel back to the festival after his sold out 2010 concert at the Chan Centre.

Monger. Photo by Gadi Dagon.
[Monger. Photo by Gadi Dagon]

Monger and Thank You, You’re Not Welcome
(February 23 to 26, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre)
The full–length Canadian premiere of Monger is choreographed by one of Israel’s most celebrated choreographers, Barak Marshall, and performed by the vibrant Los Angeles based contemporary dance company, Body Traffic. A piece for nine dancers, Monger tells the emotive, visual and theatrical story of a group of servants, trapped in the basement of the house of an abusive mistress. Also on this special double bill is Holy Body Tattoo co-founder Noam Gagnon’s newest full–length work, Thank You, You’re Not Welcome – a madcap tale in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm.

Noord Nederlandse Dans. Photo by Karel Zwaneveld
[Noord Nederlandse Dans. Photo by Karel Zwaneveld]
Noord Nederlandse Dans (NND)
(February 15 to 18, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre)
In their Canadian premiere, the 14 dancers of Noord Nederlandse Dans (NND) present a mixed repertoire of new work by Artistic Director Stephen Shropshire and Israeli choreographer, Emanuel Gat. NND is one of Holland’s key contemporary dance companies known for its athleticism, musicality, and virtuosity.
Donald Sales and Cherice Barton
(February 19 to 21, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre)
Dancers/choreographers Donald Sales and Cherice Barton are Chutzpah! 2012’s Dance Artists in Residence. They will present two world premieres: a new 45 minute work co-choreographed and performed with Lara Barclay, Leon Feizo-Gas, Jennifer Welsman, Cori Caulfield, Kevin Tookey and Billy Bell, and Chapter Three; Collaboration, a new duet created for them by world renowned choreographer Aszure Barton.  
Community Dance and Music Show with JCC’s Or Chadash, Or Atid and Shalom Dancers, with dancers from the Surrey India Arts Club, Perry Ehrlich’s ShowStoppers and Israel’s Hora Goel
(February 26, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre)
Chutzpah’s annual community dance and music show features local youth and young adult dance groups, joined by community dancers from the Surrey India Arts Club, the musical singing group ShowStoppers, and Israel’s Hora Goel.

King Matt The First . Photo by Chris Randle
[King Matt the First. Photo by Chris Randle]
King Matt the First
(February 29 to March 4, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre) co-presented with Popular Theatre-Canadian-Polish Society PRO
This is a play for all generations based on the 1923 novel by Polish author, physician and educator Janusz Korczak. The story is a moving fable of a young boy-king who learns about what is important in life, and a brilliant and thinly-veiled allegory of contemporary and historical events in Poland.
Blink & You Might Miss Me
(February 22 to 26, River Rock Theatre, Richmond) co-presented with the River Rock Casino Resort
Chutzpah! heads to Richmond for the first time with Blink & You Might Miss Me, one man tour de force written and performed by show biz veteran Larry Blum and directed by Stan Zimmerman. Blink is Blum’s humorous and honest look back at his own journey through Hollywood and the show business world, with engaging stories, rare clips, and photos from his long and fascinating career.
Chutzpah! Plus  
Goodness (March 6 to 11, Firehall Arts Centre) co-presented with Touchstone Theatre & the Firehall Arts Centre and produced by Volcano Theatre
With the cadence of a thriller, and performed to a haunting a cappella score of folk music from around the world, Goodness explores what it means to tell the truth about one of humanity’s most sinister habits – genocide. With time-shifting tales-within-tales, and actors stepping in and out of roles, award-winning playwright and novelist Michael Redhill takes the audience on a gripping, and at times darkly funny journey.
Single tickets for all shows range from $16 to $40 + HST (student pricing with valid ID only) and can be purchased online via Tickets Tonight, or by phoning either Chutzpah (604.257.5145) or Tickets Tonight’s (604.684.2787) box offices. Tickets will also be available in person beginning January 9 at the Chutzpah! Box office at the JCCGV, 950 West 41st Avenue (two blocks west of the Oakridge Skytrain Station).  

Chutzi Packs enable patrons to see four different shows of their choice for just $72 (not valid for Idan Raichel and Vieux Farka Toure Quartet or off-site productions at the Commodore Ballroom and Electric Owl, with the exception of the River Rock Theatre and Firehall Arts Centre).

Tickets for Hadag Nahash and Blink and You Might Miss Me can be purchased via Ticketmaster by phone (1.855.985.5000) or online, and either by phone or in person through the Chutzpah! Festival Box Office.
Tickets for Goodness also available at Firehall Box Office by phoning 604.689.0926, online, and at Chutzpah! Box Office until March 4 only.

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