As Kanye West drops a new album, a new play in Winnipeg shines a harsh light on his antisemitic past

Seth Zosky, left, and CJ Capital star in "Pain to Power: A Kanye West Musical Protest", running at the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre from Mar. 9-10, 2024. (Photo courtesy of the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre)

Seth Zosky is a massive fan of Kanye West. He owns the shoes, has heard all his songs, and—as a drummer—dove deep into Kanye’s innovative use of the retro 808 drum machine. So when Kanye started coming out as an unhinged antisemite in 2023, making ridiculous comments on podcasts and social media about Hitler, spouting conspirary theories and tweeting about going “death con 3 on Jewish people”, Zosky was heartbroken.

He decided to transform his emotions into a new production. Working with his close friend, the rapper CJ Capital (who is not Jewish, but also a major Kanye fan), as well as Dan Petrenko and Tracey Erin Smith, both of whom are Jewish theatre creators in the Prairie provinces, Zosky spent a year developing a new play. Pain to Power: A Kanye West Musical Protest debuts at the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre on Mar. 9, about a month after Kanye’s latest album, Vultures 1, which was just released this week. Pain to Power adopts Kanye’s music and reclaims it into a work of art that Zosky believes the multimillionaire rapper would absolutely hate.

He and Petrenko, the artistic director of the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, join Culturally Jewish to discuss the origins of the show and their artistic process—which included a trip to Israel in early October 2023 that ended up being cut short when they got caught in Hamas’s terrorist attack, hearing missiles exploding over their heads from inside Ben Gurion airport, moments before they caught the last flight out on Oct. 7.


Culturally Jewish is hosted by Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Our producer is Michael Fraiman, and our theme music is by Sarah Segal-Lazar. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To support The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt, please consider a monthly donation by clicking here.