The 22 nd Annual Chutzpah! Festival will include concerts, comedy, new dance works, theatre, storytelling, and interactive multimedia works paired with workshops, stimulating conversations and opportunities to interact with creative artists. A special programming highlight brings Jewish and non-Jewish artists of Persian heritage together to explore how these communities have intersected in their artistic expression. The Festival’s new programs for young audiences and families expand with theatre and music events, including special school matinees. Audiences will have the opportunity to attend in-person performances, or to enjoy select digital events from the comfort of their own homes. With an emphasis on artists from across Canada, the Festival will also present work from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
This year’s festival includes:
OPENING NIGHT EVENT:
Cabaret Chutzpah! presents Not a Day Goes By (Canada)
November 3 at 8pm, Wosk Auditorium
Cabaret Chutzpah! kicks off the Festival with a celebration of the life and work of Stephen Sondheim, featuring some of Vancouver’s most powerful voices. Presented in a sophisticated and intimate setting, this special event includes refreshments, cabaret tables, and surprises galore. Jewish composer, songwriter and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, was one of the most important figures in both the twentieth and twenty-first centuries of musical theatre and we are excited to be opening the Festival with a celebration of his music and legacy. City Opera Vancouver singers Jenny Andersen (soprano), Eva Tavares (soprano), Amy Gartner (mezzo), Cecilly Day (mezzo) Tainui Kuru (tenor), Jesse Alvarez (tenor), Jacob Leonard (baritone), Brandon Thornhill (baritone), and will be accompanied by pianist Roger Parton. Concert Producer: Alan Corbishley.
Joel Chasnoff (Israel/USA) with special guest Talia Reese (USA)
November 16 at 8pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
Israeli-American Joel Chasnoff is the rare stand-up comic who has both opened for Jon Stewart on tour and served in a combat unit of the Israeli army. Joel has performed his unique brand of clever Jewish comedy at more than 1,000 events in nine countries, including 46 of the 50 US states, as well as comedy and arts festivals in the UK and Australia and as a featured act at the Montreal Comedy Festival. Following the show, Joel will be available to sign copies of his comedic memoir The 188th Crybaby Brigade .
Talia Reese ditched the exciting world of bankruptcy law to pursue a more stable path as a stand-up comedian, which thrilled her parents to no end. Luckily, her career move has worked out. She regularly performs at the hottest comedy clubs and events in the US and Canada. The Times of Israel says Talia’s “a rising comedy star who has a polish, panache, and a gift of jab reminiscent of her childhood hero, Joan Rivers.”
Celebrating Queer Jewish Comedy featuring Liz Glazer (USA)
Hosted by Yenta (USA)
With Drag Queens Ziona Patriot & Talula Bonet “The Holy Sisters” (Israel)
November 24 at 8pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
Chutzpah! celebrates the pride, diversity, and sheer hilarity of the LGBTQ+ community with a lineup of Jewish comedians, headlined by Liz Glazer.
Liz Glazer began her career as most standup comedians do: as a tenured law professor AND THEN, Liz gave it all up to do comedy, where her material draws from her own life as a lesbian, a rabbi’s wife, and a former lawyer. These days Liz performs regularly at comedy clubs and festivals. While Liz loves performing live in person, she’s equally comfortable yelling into her laptop on Zoom as she did nightly during the pandemic.
Yenta , a matchmaker descended from Heaven, who teaches folks how to love themselves, and then somebody else, hosts the evening, which will be jam-packed full of fun, surprises, music, and mayhem. Yenta’s alter ego is Stuart B Meyers, a multidisciplinary artist and performer. Inspired by the overlap in his queer and Jewish identities, he creates shapeshifting, time-defying performance works which crack open perspectives, awakening audiences to their bodies and spirits.
Ziona Patriot & Talula Bonet “THE HOLY SISTERS” are Israel’s leading Drag Queens, performing all over the country, on TV shows and on stage as part of the very successful drag group “THE HOLY WIGS”. They have also performed over the last few years throughout many parts of the world including Japan, USA, Barcelona, Athens, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Berlin, and Oslo. They are now coming to Chutzpah! for their Canadian debut.
Ne.Sans Opera & Dance World Premiere of Hourglass (Israel/Canada)
November 5 & 6 at 8pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
A dance performance and concert creation set to the complete Piano Études of the celebrated Jewish composer Philip Glass, one of the most innovative and influential composers of the late 20th century, and choreographed by Israeli director Idan Cohen. This series of miniature études comprises 20 spectacular gems hidden within Glass’ body of work, performed live by award-winning pianist Leslie Dala.
Philip Glass’ ability to reflect an abstraction of time, to tell a story without narrative, while showcasing a minimalistic, crystallized approach to rhythm, is enticingly relevant. Hourglass explores the passage of time with an ensemble of dancers of ages ranging from their 20s to late 60s, with a variety of body types and backgrounds. They represent a wealth of knowledge that needs to be seen, both as a response to current times, and as a compelling elucidation of Glass’ intent.
This World Premiere of Hourglass was developed through an artistic residency at the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre.
Alexis Fletcher & Arash Khakpour World Premiere of ه مه هستی من آیه تاریکیست | All my being is a dark verse (working title) (Canada)
November 9 & 10 at 8pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre (Digital Streaming Available)
Ballet BC resident artist and choreographer/artistic director Alexis Fletcher and Iranian-Canadian dance artist/choreographer/artistic director Arash Khakpour undertake a project that marries the artistic disciplines of literature, visual art, and dance by reaching across dance styles, languages, and cultures in the practice of duet. This is their first ever co-creation and is inspired by the extraordinary poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad (1934-1967). Forugh is one of the most beloved Persian poets, and a powerful female voice which speaks across cultures and generations. Her legacy lives on in Iran, her native country, and in her widely translated work around the world. Their practices approach movement as a universal way of channeling poetry through the body, as an attempt to connect to the audience with multiple layers of understanding. This performance is accompanied by a visual art exhibit by Nargess Jalali Delia.
The piece will be paired with a program of Persian storytelling curated by The Flame.
This World Premiere was developed through an artistic residency at the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre.
DANCE DOUBLE BILL
Vanessa Goodman/Action at a Distance – World Premiere of Echo Chamber (Canada)
Shay Kuebler/Radical System Art Ghost Scripts (Canada)
November 21 & 22 at 8pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre (Digital Streaming Available)
Echo Chamber is the newest work from Action at a Distance , created by Vanessa Goodman in collaboration with performing artist Ileanna Cheladyn, with original sound by Loscil and arresting lighting by James Proudfoot. Ileanna transports her audience to a hauntingly beautiful world thick with visceral physicality and full of soft, tender vulnerability.
This new piece will be paired with Ghost Scripts, Pg. 1, a new project by Internationally renowned choreographer and dancer Shay Kuebler , along with his younger ensemble of dancers, exploring the language of dreams. Created in collaboration with James Proudfoot.
Both Action at a Distance and Radical System Art developed these premiere works through artistic residencies at the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre.
Yankl & Der Beanstalk (UK)
Part of the DBLSPK Program co-presented with rice & beans theatre (Canada)
November 7 at 1pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre (Digital Streaming Available)
Yankl & Der Beanstalk is a Yiddish holiday panto co-created by Chutzpah! Festival favourite Tamara Micner, a celebrated writer, performer and theatre-maker in London England, who hails from Vancouver, BC. In partnership with rice & beans theatre, through their ongoing DBLSPK program exploring multilingual theatre works, the Yankl creative team will present a work-in-progress section of the panto from their studio in London via video link, followed by a facilitated workshop discussion with the audience.
The Flame – Home Again at Chutzpah! (Canada)
November 12 at 8pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre (Digital Streaming Available)
Under the stewardship of artistic director Deborah Williams, The Flame is a fiery, Vancouver-based grassroots storytelling series where Real People share their personal True Stories in front of a live audience. Back by popular demand, this special edition created for Chutzpah! invites a multicultural group of storytellers who will make you laugh and cry, often in the same sentence. Hosted by Helen Schneiderman with special musical guest Auto Jansz. The storytellers for this edition include: Mark Leiren-Young, Dallas Yellowfly, Panthea Vatandoost, Akiko Hara, Randy Milner, Beichuan Yanting, and Kathleen Oliver.
Edith Tankus Canadian Premiere of Wild Country (Canada/UK)
November 20 & 21 at 8pm, Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, SFU Goldcorp Centre for Arts
Jewish Canadian theatre artist, now based in the UK, Edith Tankus presents her show Wild Country , an intimate and absurd, one-person exploration of motherhood, exile and transformation. Part storytelling, part standup, part myth, it asks the question: How does an urban Canadian raising children in rural Kent, England with declining parents back home, learn the codes of survival?
Joan Beckow Legacy Project (Canada)
November 13 at 7pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
Not all creators get the spotlight they deserve during their lifetime. The Joan Beckow Legacy Project commemorates the musical works of prolific, brilliant, and under-celebrated composer Joan Beckow, who passed away at 88 in January 2021.
Although Beckow’s compositions have been performed on stage thousands of times, her music was never professionally recorded until now. Join us in celebration of Beckow’s unsung legacy, through live performances honouring the release of this debut, yet posthumous album, and through the preview screening of the documentary, UNSUNG: The Joan Beckow Story.
Live performances under music-direction duo Wendy Bross Stuart and Jessica Stuart will display a cross-section of Beckow’s work, from comedy to soul-stirring liturgical pieces, and will feature 30 top musicians from across Canada, including lauded 20-member youth show choir, Perry Ehrlich’s Showstoppers.
David Buchbinder, Mark Rubin & Michael Ward-Bergeman – Music at the Center of the River (Canada/USA)
November 17 at 8pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre (Digital Streaming Available)
Music at the Center of the River joins master musicians David Buchbinder, Mark Rubin and Michael Ward-Bergeman, who bring the spirit of inquiry, experimentation and play to their earthy, deeply connected sounds. The musical tributaries flowing into this new ensemble include music of Jews, Roma, African Americans (New Orleans and the Delta), the Riverboats, the Salons, and the Laboratories of the Mad Scientist. They work with these traditions in which they are deeply, authentically grounded to give voice to their connection with each other, to the ancestors and to the unseen Spirits.
Liraz – A Persian-Jewish Program (Israel)
November 23 at 8pm, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
Celebrated Israeli singer, songwriter, actress Liraz Charhi has wowed crowds with her performances on stage, sound, and screen. Her debut self-titled album garnered wonderful acclaim. Her follow-up album, Only You ‘re Allowed, is a collaboration of Israel’s best writers and composers and combines modern sounds with the ethnic Persian flavor of Liraz’s upbringing.
Maya Ciarrocchi & Andrew Conklin – Site: Yizkor (Canada/USA)
November 12-19: Installation and Workshops, Sidney & Gertrude Zack Gallery
November 19: Performance, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre (Digital Streaming Available)
In their collaboration, Site: Yizkor , Jewish Canadian multimedia artist Maya Ciarrocchi and composer Andrew Conkin explore questions like: Who honours the spaces left by the dead? How and why do people, cultures, and identities disappear? This in-process interdisciplinary project explores the physical and emotional manifestation of loss through text, video, and music. Site: Yizkor is an autonomous multi-channel video/sound installation, an evening-length musical performance in an immersive projected environment, exhibit of historic Yizkor books, and workshops where participants are invited to create their own Yizkor pages as a way to mourn and commemorate lost people and places.
Co-presented with the Sidney & Gertrude Zack Gallery and in partnership with the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. Supported by the Jewish Community Foundation.
PROGRAMMING FOR FAMILIES AND YOUNG PEOPLE:
Dan and Claudia Zanes in Concert (USA)
Family Show: November 13 at 11am, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
School Matinee: November 14 at 11am, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
Grammy award-winning children’s performer Dan Zanes and Haitian-American music therapist/jazz vocalist Claudia Zanes have been making music with each other since the day they met in the fall of 2016. Claudia and Dan bring their artful modern-day all-ages folk music to family shows, school workshops, community singalongs, and folk festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada. They take their commitment to accessibility and inclusion with them wherever they go, offering sensory-friendly performances for all ages.
A special school matinee performance also offers an opportunity for an interactive workshop with Dan and Claudia following the show.
Axis Theatre – Th ‘owxyia: The Hungry Feast Dish (CANADA)
School Matinee: November 18 at 11am, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
Family Show: November 19 at 11am, Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
For over 40 years, Axis Theatre’s productions have been performed in theatres and schools, enriching curriculum, drawing children into stories and giving them access to ideas in new ways. Their 57 original works have earned 24 Jessie Richardson Awards, A Betty Mitchell Award and a Drama Desk Nomination for Unique Theatrical Experience. In Th’owxyia: The Hungry Feast Dish, playwright Joseph A. Dandurand brings to life the charming Kwantlen First Nations tale of the basket ogress, Th’owxiya, an old hungry spirit that inhabits a feast dish full of bountiful delicious foods and the sly little mouse who must escape her clutches, a story of cunning and resilience that resonates across communities and cultures.
Following the special school matinee performance, Artistic Director Chris McGregor and playwright Joseph Dandurand will offer the opportunity for a creative workshop exploring Kwantlen art and craft to enhance the learning experience.
Jacqueline Saper – From Miniskirt to Hijab: A Girl in Revolutionary Iran ( USA)
November 14 at 1pm, Digitally Streamed
Jacqueline Saper was born in Tehran to Iranian and British parents. Named after Jacqueline Kennedy, she has been a bridge between the East and the West since birth. She is well known for her memoir, From Miniskirt to Hijab: A Girl in Revolutionary Iran . In this virtual program, part of the Festival’s Monday series of daytime arts and ideas programming, Jacqueline presents her fascinating story in an interactive format and engages with audiences about Jewish life in Iran pre- and post-Revolution.
Ayelet Latovich – Persian Jewish Food and Cooking (Israel)
November 21 at 6pm, Digitally Streamed
In 1993, Israeli celebrity chef Ayelet Latovich set off for culinary school in London, returning to Israel at the start of the Israeli culinary scene. She’s since worked as a private chef for the British ambassador, written for Israel’s leading culinary publication, cooked at hit restaurants Keren and Lilith, appeared in the TV program “Garlic, Pepper, and Olive Oil,” and grew a small cafe called Beta into a beloved collection of neighborhood spots around Tel Aviv. Her cooking style is rich in vegetables and grounded in a deep respect for raw ingredients. In the past year she has become the Culinary Manager at Asif – the Culinary Cultural Center of Israel, where all food cultures, traditions and innovation turn into a story of new Israeli identity.
In this interactive cooking program, Ayelet presents a menu drawn from the Persian Jewish heritage of her mother’s family, which includes her grandmother, Kohrshid Hoshmand, a well-known and beloved figure in the Iranian community in Tel Aviv.
Workshops and talkbacks with festival artists, facilitated by members of the Vancouver arts community will run throughout the Festival. Select workshops will also be available for streaming. Check the website for updates and registration info .