Jay Irwin

Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting works.  


Instituting a new three letter rating system for my reviews for 2014.  They'll range from best to worst as WOW (A can’t miss), YAY (Too damn good), MEH+ (Good, with some great things going for it), MEH (Just OK), NAH (You can miss this one) and WTF (I think you can figure out my complex code there).


Jay is also an actor in the local Seattle scene.  Follow me on Twitter @SeattleBdwyGeek




MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
Posted: Dec. 31, 2016


BWW Review: HEDWIG Rocks The Paramount with Heart and SoulBWW Review: HEDWIG Rocks The Paramount with Heart and Soul
Posted: Dec. 14, 2016


BWW Review: Seattle Public Theater's CHRISTMASTOWN is a Winning Holiday DiversionBWW Review: Seattle Public Theater’s CHRISTMASTOWN is a Winning Holiday Diversion
Posted: Dec. 5, 2016


BWW Review: The Gift We All Need for Christmas is HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS: JURASSIC PORKBWW Review: HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS: JURASSIC PORK
Posted: Dec. 12, 2016


BWW Review: A Beautiful Love Story that Doesn't Always Flow in Seattle Rep's VIETGONEBWW Review: A Beautiful Love Story in Seattle Rep’s VIETGONE
Posted: Dec. 8, 2016


BWW Review: Wacky Christmas in Spaaaaaaaace with CHRISTMAS IS BURNING at Café NordoBWW Review: Christmas in Spaaaaaaaace with CHRISTMAS IS BURNING
Posted: Dec. 5, 2016


BWW Review: Showtunes' LEAP OF FAITH Spotlights Good Voices in a Not So Good ShowBWW Review: Showtunes’ LEAP OF FAITH Spotlights Good Voices in a Not So Good Show
Posted: Dec. 5, 2016


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Classic RAISIN IN THE SUN at Rep Spotlights How Far We Haven't ComeBWW Review: Classic RAISIN IN THE SUN at Rep Spotlights How Far We Haven’t Come
Posted: Oct. 6, 2016


BWW Review: BAD APPLES at ACT Shocks, Disturbs, Potentially Offends, and Kills It!BWW Review: BAD APPLES at ACT Shocks, Disturbs, Potentially Offends, and Kills It!
Posted: Sep. 10, 2016


BWW Review: Sweet, Romantic and Tragic CONSTELLATIONS at the Seattle RepBWW Review: Sweet, Romantic and Tragic CONSTELLATIONS at the Seattle Rep
Posted: Jan. 28, 2016


BWW Review: Powerful and Evocative World Premiere ROZ AND RAY at Seattle RepBWW Review: Powerful and Evocative World Premiere ROZ AND RAY at Seattle Rep
Posted: Oct. 24, 2016


BWW Review: Shocking and Powerful DISGRACED at Seattle RepBWW Review: Shocking and Powerful DISGRACED at Seattle Rep
Posted: Jan. 14, 2016


BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
Posted: Dec. 31, 2016


BWW 2015 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2015 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
Posted: Jan. 4, 2016


BWW Review: 20th Anniversary of RENT at the Paramount Solid but No TearsBWW Review: 20th Anniversary of RENT at the Paramount Solid but No Tears
February 22, 2017

'Rent' is certainly one of those shows where you either love it or you hate it. I'm firmly in the first camp. I was right there in the fervor when it first came out in 1996 and was the 'it' show the same way a current show about a founding father is today. And when that first tour came around I made sure I was right there and I bawled my way through it. Since then I've seen numerous productions over the years. Some really good that brought around those same emotions and some that felt very MEH. The current production at the Paramount Theatre did not make it all the way to the MEH camp but it certainly had a few issues and brought no tears to my eyes.

BWW Review: NCTC's BRIGHT HALF LIFE is Sweet but Lacks Engaging CharactersBWW Review: NCTC's BRIGHT HALF LIFE is Sweet but Lacks Engaging Characters
February 20, 2017

The theater is filled with some of the greatest love stories, "Romeo and Juliet", "Mary's Wedding", and "Falsettos" just to name a few of my favorites. But in order to engage an audience in a love story you need to give them a reason to invest in the relationship whether that's through a specific circumstance or interesting characters. Unfortunately New Century Theatre Company's current production of "Bright Half Life" has neither of those. What it has is two average people going through moments in their relationship utilizing a storytelling device that I've seen done better and what results is a love story that's about as engaging as reading a collection of a vague acquaintance's Facebook posts about their love life.

BWW Review: 5th Ave's PAJAMA GAME Delivers the Steam HeatBWW Review: 5th Ave's PAJAMA GAME Delivers the Steam Heat
February 17, 2017

There's this little subsection of musical theater from the 50's and 60's that are big crowd pleasers due to the fact they were just plain fun. Sure, sometimes they dealt with issues as well but for the most part they were toe tapping good times. One of those that falls into this category is definitely 'The Pajama Game' currently playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre. And while it may not be the best example of a solid show from that era, it's still a hell of a lot of fun and this production takes that fun and amps it up to 11 due in large part to some fantastic choreography from Bob Richard and a killer cast.

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's WELL Hilariously Deconstructs One-Woman ShowsBWW Review: Seattle Rep's WELL Hilariously Deconstructs One-Woman Shows
February 16, 2017

Author Lisa Kron is known for her one-woman shows. I am known for having issues with one-person shows, as they tend to be someone else's therapy on stage. Luckily Kron also understands that issue as she very self referentially mocks those kinds of shows in her play "Well", currently at the Seattle Rep, as she deconstructs shows like this and really all shows with her hilarious exploration that has "nothing to do with her relationship with her Mother!"

BWW Review: STORYVILLE RISING Captivates with Stories but Little PlotBWW Review: STORYVILLE RISING Captivates with Stories but Little Plot
February 13, 2017

It's difficult to see where creator, writer and director of "Storyville Rising", currently playing at Seattle Immersive Theatre, David Crellin was trying to go with his show. I mean, it's certainly a fascinating look, supported by some wonderful performances, into the world of the red light district in New Orleans at the turn of the century and all the seedy undertones it had to offer, but it lacks a through line to pull it all together.

BWW Review: RAISINS IN A GLASS OF MILK Examines Racial Issues in TheatreBWW Review: RAISINS IN A GLASS OF MILK Examines Racial Issues in Theatre
February 6, 2017

More and more we see controversies arise in the entertainment industry as people of color are overlooked for some roles or pigeonholed in other roles based on their race. Well now a group of Cornish students and alum have assembled at 18th and Union for a remounting of their show illuminating those issues from the perspectives of those affected in their thought provoking "Raisins in a Glass of Milk".

BWW Review: Two Words for Seattle Shake's BRING DOWN THE HOUSE  Bad Ass
February 6, 2017

Here in Seattle we are blessed to have an abundance of bad ass female theater professionals some you might even go so far as to call local theater royalty. Well now Seattle Shakespeare Company in collaboration with Upstart Crow Collective have taken those bad ass women and dropped them in a traditionally male dominated play, Shakespeare's Henry VI Trilogy which they have turned into a two parter and labeled "Bring Down the House".

BWW Review: Seagull Project's CHERRY ORCHARD Still Shines Amidst Some ConfusionBWW Review: Seagull Project's CHERRY ORCHARD Still Shines Amidst Some Confusion
February 6, 2017

Mounting something as complex as a Chekov play is not an easy undertaking and should only be handled by professionals. Luckily, in Seattle, we have the Seagull Project who has been tackling these works the last few years including the absolutely incredible "Three Sisters" they put up a few years back. But as crystal clear the intent of the characters in their current production of "The Cherry Orchard" at ACT is, thanks to the stellar performances and direction, I wonder if the translation they chose isn't doing them any favors as I was never quite certain who many of these people were.

BWW Review: Creepy yet Touching LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Thrills at the MooreBWW Review: Creepy yet Touching LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Thrills at the Moore
February 3, 2017

Is it possible to put a really good horror story on stage? It has been done to some limited success with things like "Sweeney Todd" or "The Woman in Black" and now we have the truly creepy offering from National Theatre of Scotland with their adaptation of "Let the Right One In".

BWW Review: Gripping Journey in GUARDS AT THE TAJ at ACTBWW Review: Gripping Journey in GUARDS AT THE TAJ at ACT
January 30, 2017

I do love it, Dear Readers, when a show manages to thrill without the aid of elaborate sets or gimmicks. Where you can just immerse yourself in the words and performances. Such is the case with "Guards at the Taj" currently playing at ACT. That's not to say that the minimal set design from Brandon Estrella didn't work, it did. And there is one kind of unexpected prop that beautifully took over the stage at one point. But by then, we were so riveted by the stirring performances of the two actors in the show, even an elephant could have walked on stage I would have been focused on them.

BWW Review: Theater 9/12's SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION  Strong Performances but a Bit Static
January 30, 2017

There's something to be said for a bunch of actors, putting in the work and leaving it all out on the stage unencumbered by elaborate sets. That's why I love Theater 9/12's shows as it's all about the performances. Plus the shows are always so intimate in their little parish hall space that you really feel part of the world they've created. This is why their current production of "Six Degrees of Separation" works so well especially with the narrative quality of much of the dialog. And while many of the performances were quite strong and noteworthy, the show as a whole tended to get a little static.

BWW Review: Paramount's KING AND I Full of Heart, Talent, Et CeteraBWW Review: Paramount's KING AND I Full of Heart, Talent, Et Cetera
January 25, 2017

I've never been a huge fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I", currently playing at the Paramount Theatre. It's kind of dated, the songs, while many are classics, don't really move the story along, and plot points often come out of nowhere, plus it's one of those staples from the Golden Age of musicals that's just been done to death. But as much as it's not one of my favorites, this current production was so filled with heart, talent and incredible staging that even I have developed a new appreciation for it.

BWW Review: ArtsWest's MOTHERS AND SONS Lives Up to Its PotentialBWW Review: ArtsWest's MOTHERS AND SONS Lives Up to Its Potential
January 23, 2017

I was fortunate enough to see Tyne Daly in Terrence McNally's "Mothers and Sons" when it was on Broadway. So when I heard that ArtsWest was putting up a production of the show from one of my favorite playwrights, starring Suzy Hunt and Evan Whitfield, already some of my favorite actors in town, and Jason Sanford, who's quickly becoming another one of my favorites, and directed by Makaela Pollock, who's quickly becoming one of my favorite directors in town, I was hopeful to say the least. But even with all that promise in one show it can all still go horribly wrong especially after you've seen it done by an icon. Well, fortunately for me, and for you Dear Readers who need to get out to see this one, every single ounce of hopeful promise and potential I had in my heart before seeing this production was lived up to and then some in a show that succeeds on so many levels brilliantly.

BWW Review: Village's THE 39 STEPS Packed with Laughs but Lacks PaceBWW Review: Village's THE 39 STEPS Packed with Laughs but Lacks Pace
January 20, 2017

If you've ever seen Patrick Barlow's brilliant stage adaptation of the Hitchcock film "The 39 Steps" you know what a fast paced thrill ride it is. When I saw the Broadway touring production I thought I was going to pass out from laughter. Which is why I was a little let down by the current production at Village Theatre that still had some great laughs but not always that lightning fast pace that the show demands.

BWW Review: WET's EVERY FIVE MINUTES Disturbs with Blistering PerformancesBWW Review: WET's EVERY FIVE MINUTES Disturbs with Blistering Performances
January 16, 2017

You know that nightmare you have where nothing makes sense as the plot keeps switching from one horrible situation to the next? You try and try but you just can't make anything good last for more than five minutes. Now try living that and you'll have what the character Mo (Tim Gouran) feels like all the time in Linda McLean's disturbing play "Every Five Minutes" currently from Washington Ensemble Theatre. With some amazing performances especially from Gouran, you may leave a bit broken but you'll leave thinking.

BWW Review: Surprisingly Affected by Resonant WOODY SEZ at Seattle RepBWW Review: Surprisingly Affected by Resonant WOODY SEZ at Seattle Rep
January 13, 2017

I'll admit to a large dose of skepticism when heading in to see "Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie" currently playing at the Seattle Rep. Not because I thought it would be bad, just not really anything I was all that interested in watching for two hours. I knew who he was the way many do. I knew he was a folk singer and I remember singing his most notable song, "This Land is Your Land" in grade school. But what I didn't know is what a fascinating life he had and how resonant his works would still be today. And I especially didn't expect to be emotionally affected as I was. But we'll come to that.

BWW Review: Cute but Uninspired FINDING NEVERLAND at ParamountBWW Review: Cute but Uninspired FINDING NEVERLAND at Paramount
January 11, 2017

Lord, save us from pop songwriters who think they can write musical theater. Sure, some transition successfully but this would not be the case for Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy who have given us the completely unmemorable "Finding Neverland", currently playing at the Paramount Theatre. And if the lackluster music weren't enough, the show is also weighed down by a book from James Graham and direction from Diane Paulus who it seems had no idea what story they wanted to tell as there seemed to be two distinct shows happening and neither of them were very good.

BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
December 31, 2016

It's been a crazy year, Dear Readers. Lots of ups, lots of downs, and LOTS of emotions. And I'm not just talking about on stage. But let's not dwell on the bad things that may have happened in the world and focus on some of the amazing things Seattle theater companies gave us this past year, and let me tell you there were quite a few. So many in fact that in some categories I simply had to call out more than the usual Honorable Mentions as some performances just needed to be noted. You'll see what I mean especially when you get to the female categories as the ladies were certainly bringing it this year. But let's get started shall we? Out of the myriad shows I saw this year in Seattle, here are the shows and performances that truly stood out to me.

BWW Review: HEDWIG Rocks The Paramount with Heart and SoulBWW Review: HEDWIG Rocks The Paramount with Heart and Soul
December 14, 2016

When you have a show that is so focused on one character, it's always interesting to see the different takes different actors give to the role. A prime example of this is John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's masterpiece, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" currently playing at the Paramount Theatre. Over the years I've seen five different Hedwigs. Some accentuate the outrageousness of the role, some the comedy but, other than Mitchell's own film version, have I ever seen a more tragically honest rendition than that of Euan Morton's performance.

BWW Review: The Gift We All Need for Christmas is HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS: JURASSIC PORKBWW Review: The Gift We All Need for Christmas is HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS: JURASSIC PORK
December 12, 2016

In these chaotic and somewhat disturbing times, we can all use a good laugh as a release valve. I know I could. This is why I was so excited that last night I was going to get to partake in my favorite annual holiday tradition. No, not getting to beat some old lady to the last Tickle-Me Pokemon (or whatever) on Black Friday or sipping eggnog with your co-workers until the inappropriate conversations begin. It's my annual trip to ACT to catch the latest installment of Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt's 'Ham for the Holidays' and this year's offering 'Jurassic Pork' was certainly not a letdown, in fact I think this may be one of their best. With their liberal dose of liberal humor and more gay than you can shake a glitter and jewel encrusted stick at, Koch and Platt have the cure for any Grinch-like holiday moods.



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