The Chutzpah Festival is a performing arts festival hosted by the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver at the Norman Rothstein Theatre each year.
The Chutzpah! Festival
Pronounced with a silent “C” and featuring theatre, music and dance, the Chutzpah Festival, in recent years, has taken place between mid-February and mid-March. As of 2019, however, its dates shifted from its usual spring season to the fall.
In 2019 the Chutzpah Festival ran from October 24th until November 24th.
Chutzpah Festival performances take place primarily at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver’s 318-seat Norman Rothstein Theatre, but also at other venues including the Vogue Theatre, the WISE Hall and Rickshaw Theatre.
The Norman Rothstein Theatre is located at 950 West 41st Avenue in Vancouver.
About the Chutzpah Festival
The Chutzpah Festival draws talented musicians, comedians, dancers and actors from around the world including from Israel, New Zealand, Italy and the United States. Ticket prices range from $24 to around $60.
Performances and show times for the 2019 season are listed below.
Note: Show times and details are subject to change.
Comedy Performances in 2019
The list of Chutzpah Festival comedy shows for 2019 were the following:
- Iris Bahr – an award-winning writer, actor, director and producer. This comedian brings her critically acclaimed stand-up performances to wow Canadian crowds. She performs at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on November 12th and 13th at 8:00 pm.
- Schticks & Giggles – featuring several comedy performers such as Kyle Berger (host), Ivan Decker, John Cullen, Lisa Person, Yisrael Shurack and more. They perform on November 19th at the Norman Rothstein Theatre at 8:30 pm.
Dance Performances in 2019
Dance performances at the Chutzpah Festival in 2019 included the following:
- ProArteDanza – a contemporary ballet performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Award-winning choreographers Robert Glumbek and Roberto Campanella present a refreshing and dynamic ballet. The performances are at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on October 26th and 28th at 8:00 pm and October 27th at 2:00 pm.
- MM Contemporary Dance – Italy’s MM Contemporary Dance Company performs at the Chutzpah! Festival with the Canadian premieres of Gershwin Suites and Schubert Frames. This performance is at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on November 1st and 4th at 8:00 pm, November 2nd at 2:00 pm and November 3rd at 7:00 pm.
- UNA Projects – the Canadian premiere of Coloring, a dance performance intertwined with themes of identity, unity and mutual respect of queer histories. Through this performance, it is the hope that commonalities rather than differences are uncovered. The show is at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on November 15th and 16th at 8:00 pm and November 17th at 7:00 pm.
Musical Performances in 2019
Concerts and musical performances at the Chutzpah Festival in 2019 included the following:
- Daniel Cainer – an award-winning songwriter, broadcaster and storyteller based in London. He performs at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on October 24th at 8:00 pm.
- Rami Kleinstein – one of Israel’s most well-known Pop superstars. A multiple award-winning performer who is making his Canadian premiere at the Chutzpah! Festival, he performs at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on October 27th at 8:00 pm.
- Guy Mintus Trio – an accomplished concert pianist, he performs at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on October 29th at 8:00 pm.
- Sandra Bernhard : “Quick Sand” – a fast-paced and exciting entertainer with a three-piece band, Bernhard performs at the Vogue Theatre on October 31st at 8:00 pm.
- Gary Lucas – an award-winning and world-famous guitarist and composer who performs live in front of two films: Spanish Dracula and Frankenstein. He performs at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on October 30th at 7:00 and 9:00 pm.
- AvevA – an Ethiopian-Israeli singer and songwriter. AvevA’s music combines traditional Ethiopian sounds with Soul-Pop songs. She performs at the Rickshaw Theatre on November 14th at 8:00 pm.
- Yemen Blues : Hallel – a performance by Ravid Kahalani and Omer Avital. Yemen Blues has gone on to great international success since its creation in 2010. Their new energetic project HALLEL fuses the influence of Yemenite Jewish culture and Afro-Funk groove. They perform at the Rickshaw Theatre on November 9th at 8:00 pm.
Theatre & Multi-Disciplinary in 2019
Theatre and multi-disciplinary performances at the Chutzpah Festival in 2019 included the following:
- Holocaust Brunch – a performance by BC-born and UK-based Tamara Micner. Holocaust Brunch tells the true stories of Bluma and Isaac Tischler who were Polish-born Jews and Holocaust survivors who met in medical school in Tajikistan during the war and became renowned Vancouver doctors.
- The Rescue: A Live Film-Concerto – a 70-minute documentary film that is combined with a live musical performance of its musical soundtrack. This performance tells the story of Colonel Jose Arturo. The show is at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on November 23rd at 8:00 pm.
- Geoff Berner & TJ Dawe & Friends – The Trombonik Returns to New Chelm is a satirical musical. The creators took inspiration from the traditional tales of Jewish folklore about Chelm. The musical takes place in depression-era Saskatchewan. The performance is at the WISE Hall on November 1st at 8:00 pm.
- The Diary of Anne Frank LatinX – following the famous story of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager hidden away while Nazis hunted down Jews during World War II, this production adds a modern-day twist. This story follows those being hidden in modern day America from ICE and attempts to find parallels to the Anne Frank story. Performances take place on November 6h, 7th, 8th and 9th.
- Chutzpah! Dance & Comedy Inclusions Project – a week-long creative project with professional artists who come together to create an amazing closing night performance. The show is at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on November 24th at 7:00 pm.
- Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance! 25th Anniversary Tribute – a tribute to the Jewish Community Centre’s musical theatre summer camp. Performers include Simone Osborne, Tiffany Rivera, Matthew Rossoff, Meghan Anderson, Advah Soudack and more. They put on two performances on November 10th at the Norman Rothstein Theatre: one at 3:30 pm and the other at 7:30 pm.
In case you were curious about what Chutzpah means, synonyms include the words audacity, effrontery, cheek, gall and supreme self-confidence.
The Chutzpah Festival is one of Vancouver’s top performing arts festivals and in 2020 it celebrates its 20th year.
For more information see the Chutzpah Festival website.
For information about other similar events at other times of the year, see Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar.