I have always enjoyed the various musical and theatrical events in the annual Chutzpah Festival in Vancouver. This year the 11th Annual Chutzpah Festival it takes place at various venues around Vancouver from the Commodore Ballroom , Norman Rothstein Theatre, Venue Night Club, Scotiabank Dance Centre, and Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver February 10-27th. Some performances that should not be missed include:


February 10, 11, 12 @ 8pm

Scotiabank Dance Centre

677 Davie Street

Conversations is a world premiere by the multi-talented choreographer/writer Serge Bennathan. Returning to Chutzpah!, Bennathan brings his trademark creativity to his new work based on an imaginary encounter between the great Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, who was murdered by pro-Franco militias in 1936, and his assassin, Juan Luis Trescastro portrayed on stage by the magnetic Billy Marchenski and Danny Wild. This work is about the poetic, philosophical and grounded exchange that takes place between these two men and explores the juxtaposition of poetry with history and how in Franco’s Spain, poetry was a tool, if not a weapon, to battle injustice.

Klezmerata Florentina

Wednesday, February 16th @ 7pm

Norman Rothstein Theatre

Comprised of four principal players and extraordinary musicians from the leading Florentine symphony and opera orchestra, Orchestra del Maggio Musicale. Their style imbues the unique instrumental language, dance rhythms and authentic melodies of the historical klezmorim with a classical complexity of expression, wide dynamic range, and elasticity of tempo.

Jaffa Road with Jessica Stuart

Saturday February 19 @ 8pm

Norman Rothstein Theatre

Based in Toronto Jaffa Road is an award-winning world music group made up of some of Canada’s most exciting and innovative interpreters of inter-cultural music. The group has created a unique sonic landscape that draws easily and organically from the worlds of sacred and secular Jewish songs, Classical Arabic and Indian music, modern jazz, rock, pop, and dub. In doing so the group creates a union between acoustic and electronic, secular and sacred, ancient and modern. Opening for Jaffa Road is Vancouver’s own Jessica Stuart with her Toronto-based trio The Jessica Stuart Few. Fit to groove through the bounds of all parameters, Jessica Stuart embodies the essence of pop and jazz, creating a dynamic sound, merging outstanding creativity with traditional roots. With innovative and catchy songs, The Jessica Stuart Few consists of Jessica Stuart (vocals, guitar, koto), Tyler Emond (bass) and Nico Dann (drums) Yemen Blues

Thursday, February 24 – Doors open 8pm

Venue Night Club

881 Granville St

Please note: There is limited seating

Shaped by his origins as a Yemeni Jew, the fascinating voice of Israeli Ravid Kahalani brilliantly evokes the musical universe of his ancestors (you last heard Ravid Kahalani sing and perform with the Idan Raichel Project at the Chan Centre last year!). Stretching like a caravan crossing the desert, the band winds through West African blues and the thousand and one vibrations of the Sahara, Nubian, Gnawi, Touaregs, Saidi and Bambara. This luscious mix of jazz tonalities, which also crosses into funk, rings out as an ode to African grooves and a modern echo of the ancestral rhythms. Balkan Beat Box

Sunday February 27 – Doors open 8pm

Commodore Ballroom

868 Granville Street

Please note: There is limited seating

Balkan Beat Box returns to Chutzpah!, but this time to the Commodore Ballroom! With their roots firmly planted all around the Mediterranean rim and their solid rock+reggae foundations, this New York and Israel based band are a sensation. Balkan Beat Box is an astounding live band and their energetic live shows have become legendary. BBB weaves the exotic sounds of the Middle East with urban electronic grooves, hip-hop beats, wailing horns and the fast and furious folk beats found in gypsy and Balkan music. The group breaks down political barriers with their infectious enthusiasm and amazing music. Falsettos

February 12 @ 8pm

February 13-15 & 17 @ 7pm

February 16 @ 9pm

February 20 @ 1pm Post Show Talk-Back

Feb 13 & 15

Norman Rothstein Theatre

Originally nominated for seven Tony Awards and winning for best score and best book, this production will bring together an all-star cast of local musical theatre artists led by director/choreographer Peter Jorgensen (The Full Monty, Bat Boy). Falsettos won the 1992 Tony Awards for best book and musical score. It is the soulful tale of Marvin (Liam Kearns) who leaves his wife, Trina (Caitriona Murphy) and young son, Jason (Yaakov Bellas & Harrison Ivaz) to live with his male lover, Whizzer (Tyson Coady). Thrown into the mix are Mendel, the neurotic psychiatrist (Robert Clarke), and the two lesbians from next door (Meghan Anderssen & Linda Quibell). The result is a musical that is “Exhilarating and heartbreaking,” The New York Times and “A masterly feat of comic storytelling.” Variety. Visiting Mr Green

Preview February 10 @ 8pm

Tuesdays through Saturdays February 11 – 26 @ 8pm 4pm Saturday February 12, 19 & 26 2pm on Sunday February 13, 20 & 27 Post Show Talk-Back Feb 15 & 22

Presentation House Theatre,

333 Chesterfield Avenue

North Vancouver

Since its year-long run at New York’s 499-seat Union Square Theatre, Jeff Baron’s play, Visiting Mr. Green, has been one of the most produced plays in the world and has been translated into 22 languages. These are some of the exceptional array of performances at this year’s festival. Visit the website for more information and specific performance times.

Tickets can be purchased by phone at the Chutzpah! Festival Box Office (604-257-5145), online at Tickets Tonight, on the Chutzpah! Festival website, and in person at the JCCGV (950 W. 41st Avenue). Additionally, Chutzi Packs are available, which allow patrons to see four shows of their choice for just $69 (excluding Balkan Beat Box or Yemen Blues).