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preview imageCHUTZPAH!
The Lisa Nemetz International Showcase of Jewish Performing Arts
Norman Rothstein Theatre
950 W. 41st Av.
Feb. 17-Mar. 3
604-257-5145 or

The 2007 Chutzpah! Festival presents a line-up of theatre that is like no other. Two world premieres include the English debut of Romeo’s Séance based on Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters and The Invisible Life of Joseph Finch, which brings together Serge Bennathan and Jonathon Young. Five Vancouver premieres include Tracey Erin Smith’s The Burning Bush and Going Home for families.

“It’s a real multi-media experience this year,” says Chutzpah! Artistic and Managing Director, Mary-Louise Albert. “We have an actor who will be directed as a dancer; the Israeli Contemporary String Quartet will grace the dramatic stage; and Hip-Hop 101 manages to fuse music, theatre, dance and comedy. We also have three amazing female solo shows starring Tracey Erin Smith, Naava Piatka and Betsy Salkind.

The Burning Bush
Written and performed by Tracey Erin Smith
Directed by Rebecca Northan
Vancouver Premiere

“… will leave you emotionally naked, pensive and a little turned on.” –Vue Weekly

Cast out and broke, female Rabbinical student Barbara Baumawitz accidentally wanders into a strip club and has a revelation … there’s more than one way to “spread” the truth! Studio 58 graduate and Toronto-based actress/playwright Tracey Erin Smith has performed her solo shows in New York, across Canada, and in the Catskills. She received a best actress Jessie nomination for The One That Got Away (Chutzpah! 2002). Rebecca Northan (cast member, Alice, I Think) is an acclaimed actor, producer and director. She’s currently directing the comedy troupe "The Imponderables."

  • When:  Sunday, February 18 at 8:00 pm 
    Monday, February 19 at 9:30 pm
    Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30 pm
  • Where: Wosk 2nd Stage, JCCG

Direct from Israel
Starring Tomer Sharon and the Israeli Contemporary String Quartet
Hadas Fabrikant: 1st violin
Tali Goldberg: 2nd violin
Amelia Holander: viola
Hila Epstein: cello
Developed and directed by Atay Citron
English World Premiere

Based on The Juliet Letters, a CD recorded by Elvis Costello and members of the Brodsky String Quartet (1992,) Romeo’s Séance is comprised of 20 letter-songs, each a monologue by a different character, either writing or receiving a letter for Juliet Capulet. Israeli television star and comedian, Tomer Sharon plays all the characters, from a young man trying to invoke the ghost of his dead lover to the confession of a betrayed wife. The show is also a visual feast with gorgeous costumes and intriguing multi-media effects.

  • When:  Sunday, February 18 at 9:00 pm  
    Tuesday, February 20 at 7:00 pm
    Wednesday, February 21 at 9:00 pm
  • Where: Norman Rothstein Theatre, JCCGV 

The Invisible Life of Joseph Finch
Written and directed by Serge Bennathan
Performed by Jonathon Young
Music by John Gzowski | Lighting by James Proudfoot | Set Design by Jay Gower Taylor | Costumes by Nancy Bryant
World Premiere

Inspired by real-life stories of reunited long-lost family members, Canada’s award winning Serge Bennathan has crafted a poetic remembrance of a love that triumphs against all odds. The Invisible Life of Joseph Finch opens with a man writing his life story in a letter to the daughter he has searched for since the liberation of Auschwitz. At the age of 83, he has decided to immigrate to Canada to join her. Jonathon Young is a two-time Jessie Award winning actor as well as a writer, designer and co-artistic director of the incomparable Electric Company Theatre.

A Chutzpah! Festival production in association with the Vancouver International Dance Festival and in partnership with The Dance Centre

  • When:  Sunday, February 25 at 7:00 pm
    Tuesday, February 27 at 8:00 pm
    Wednesday, February 28 at 8:00 pm
    Thursday, March 1 at 9:00 pm
    Friday, March 2 at 1:30 pm
    Saturday, March 3 at 7:00 pm
  • Where: Norman Rothstein Theatre, JCCGV

Sable and Batalion’s HIP-HOP 101
Starring Eli Batalion & Kevin Gillese
Vancouver Premiere

 “It’s got great songs, it’s fast-paced, it’s outrageous fun, and it’s beautifully executed” –CBC Radio

They’re all the rage and they’re back, the hip-hop boys! If you missed Job: The Hip-Hop Musical at Chutzpah! 2004, here’s your chance: check out Sable and Batalion’s latest—Hip-Hop 101, which debuted at the Montreal Just for Laughs comedy festival. Audiences will learn everything they need to know about today’s most popular form of music from two members of an unusual rap duo, Bushman and Vowel Movement.

  • When: Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 pm
    Sunday, February 25 at 9:00 pm
  • Where: Norman Rothstein Theatre, JCCGV

Written and performed by Naava Piatka
Vancouver Premiere

“An enthralling piece of theatre. A powerful celebration of the human spirit and its ability to create art in the midst of dire circumstances.” –The Scotsman, UK

South African-born actress/playwright Naava Piatka (New Jersey) animates the remarkable true-life stories of her Yiddish comedienne mother, singer Chayela Rosenthal, known as the “Star of Vilna Ghetto Theatre,” whose irrepressible humour brought light and laughter into the darkness of war-torn Europe.This one-woman show has toured the world, was featured in the US Holocaust Museum’s “Acts of Courage” performance series, and at the 60th Commemoration of the Liquidation of the Vilna Ghetto in Vilnius, Lithuania.

  • When: Monday, February 19 at 7:30 pm  
    Tuesday February 20 at 2:00 & 9:30 pm
    Sunday, February 25 at 6:00 pm
  • Where: Wosk 2nd Stage, JCCGV

Written by & starring Betsy Salkind
Directed by Jeff Marcus | Additional writing by Becky Neiman
Vancouver Premiere

“… a striking satirical piece that skewers the tasteless limits of today's television” –Boston Herald

How far will the television industry go to make a buck? Most of us have seen just how far—wife swapping, slug eating … Could a sitcom based on the story of Anne Frank be a possibility? Yes, according to Betsy Salkind’s Anne Frank Superstar. Salkind (Los Angeles), former staff writer for Roseanne, plays eight characters including a precocious 11 year-old girl and a deaf stand-up comic. The politically correct should beware: this former drummer for the Phenobarbidolls pulls no punches in this very funny show.

  • When: Wednesday, February 21 at 7:30 pm
    Thursday, February 22 at 8:00 pm
    Saturday, February 24 at 7:30 pm
    Sunday, February 25 at 8:00 pm
  • Where: Wosk 2nd Stage, JCCGV

Starring Sharon Bajer and Hanoch Reim
With music by Avner Kenner
Directed by Kayla Gordon
Vancouver Premiere

A young boy who has spent most of his life in Canada is told that his family is to “go home.” His mother is an Israeli ambassador in Canada and they are to return to Israel. Distraught that they will be separated, the boy and his Canadian friend take an imaginary and eye-opening journey to Israel. Going Home is a family play about friendship, as well as learning about and respecting differences.

Special Price: all tickets $10.

  • When: Thursday, February 22 at 1:30 pm
    Thursday, February 22 at 6:30 pm
    Sunday, February 25 at 3:30 pm
  • Where: Wosk 2nd Stage, JCCGV


Now in its seventh year, Chutzpah! continues to present professional local, national and international Jewish artists and their collaborators creating an exciting multi-cultural celebration of music, theatre and dance of the highest calibre.

Single tickets for most Chutzpah! performances and workshops, which range in price from $10 to $20, can be purchased by phone (604-257-5145), online at, or in person at the JCCGV beginning Jan. 15 (950 41st Ave). $12 student tickets are available in person only. Tickets for Joshua Nelson at the Chan Centre range from $25-$41. Chutzi Packs, which enable patrons to see four shows of their choice at a discounted price, are also available (not valid for Joshua Nelson or the Opening Night Gala).