Idan Raichel; photo by Eldad Rafaeli

Breathtaking dance, hilarious comedy, internationally-lauded theatre, and music will highlight the 14th Annual Chutzpah!, the Lisa Nemetz International Jewish Performing Arts Festival. The diverse 2014 festival showcases performances and workshops by international, Canadian, and local artists from February 22 to March 9, taking place at several Vancouver venues.

The Festival’s popular multi-faceted dance programming kicks off with a World Premiere by Hofesh Shector and Canadian Premieres by both Richard Siegal and Barak Marshall, danced by LA-based BODYTRAFFIC and praised by the San Francisco Herald as “the kind of people you could watch dance anything all night.”

Donald Sales
[Donald Sales/Project 20]

Dance continues throughout the festival with international artists ImPerfect Dancers (Italy), Idan Sharabi and Dancers (Israel), Ate9 Dance Company (US/Israel) and new work by Vancouver’s 2013 Clifford E. Lee Award-winning choreographer, dancer, and Chutzpah! Resident Artist Donald Sales/Project 20.

ImPerfect Dancers
[ImPerfect Dancers]
Internationally-celebrated music at Chutzpah 2014 includes saxophone virtuoso Uri Gurvich and his Ensemble (Israel/US), Russian/American Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin and the Kontraband, Iraqi-Jewish Israeli-based rock musician Dudu Tassa and The Kuwaitis and Vancouver-born emerging artist Landon Braverman and Friends in a cabaret evening of musical theatre. Returning to Vancouver again this year is audience favourite and leading world music pioneers Yemen Blues.

Lev Ljova Zhurbin
[Lev Ljova Zhurbin]
Chutzpah!, partnering with Touchstone Theatre and the Firehall Arts Centre, presents the West Coast premiere of Hirsch. Created by Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson, the story chronicles the life of a Hungarian refugee orphaned by the Holocaust who finds a new home in Canada and becomes a fierce, uncompromising Canadian theatre icon. Performed by veteran actor Alon Nashman, the Ottawa Citizen calls it “a brilliant triumph.”

The World Premiere of Tiny Music by BC’s Noah Drew brings to Chutzpah! an original “sound design musical” loosely adapted from Shalom Aleichem’s short story The Fiddle. The show follows Ezra, a 23-year-old “highly-functioning” autistic man whose auditory-processing disorder heightens his experience of the sounds around him.  

Comedy is always at its best at Chutzpah! Two-time Emmy winner actress and comedian Judy Gold brings her Off-Broadway hit 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother to the Vancouver Playhouse for one performance only. The laughs at Chutzpah! continue with the return of Brad Zimmerman performing in his autobiographical comedy, My Son the Waiter, A Jewish Tragedy.

Judy Gold 
[Judy Gold]
This year Chutpzah! PLUS features the Canadian premiere of Stella plus new work from the incomparable Sidra Bell Dance New York in a co-presentation with The Dance Centre (March 27 to 29) and The Idan Raichel Project (May 12) with 10 musicians – his largest ensemble yet to come to Chutzpah!, including new music from his just-released CD, with an opening set by award-winning Vancouver singer/songwriter, Babe Gurr
Celebrating her 10th anniversary as The Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre and Chutzpah’s Artistic & Managing Director, Mary-Louise Albert says, “Over the last 10 years, the Festival has established a reputation for introducing many new and exciting artists to Vancouver audiences. This year will be no exception with a program that offers a unique opportunity to see and hear great dance, music and theatre from around the world. An important part of Chutzpah! are workshops and other outreach activities that use the talent of our artists to strengthen our connection within the community and foster cultural understanding.”

14th Annual Chutzpah! Festival

Dates: February 22 to March 9
Venues: Varied, around Vancouver
Tickets: $20 to $42; available online or via phoning 604.257.5145 or the Tickets Tonight Box Office, 604.684.2787
Chutzi Packs are also available: see four different shows of your choice for only $82 (excluding 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother and The Idan Raichel Project).

I’ve partnered with the Chutzpah! Festival to offer one lucky reader a Chutzi Pack, with a choice of four shows (excepting the two shows mentioned above). To enter, follow both ChutzpahFest and Vancouverscape and retweet the following:

I’ve entered to win a Chutzi Pack via @ChutzpahFest and @Vancouverscape

I’ll draw a winner at random on Friday, February 7 at 5 pm. Good luck to all entrants!

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