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

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MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

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 Yet Powerful WINTER'S TALE from Seattle ShakesBWW Review: Sweet Yet Powerful WINTER'S TALE from Seattle Shakes
Posted: Sep. 12, 2016


BWW Review: Hard Hitting ROYALE at ACT Examines Consequences of Being FirstBWW Review: Hard Hitting ROYALE at ACT Examines Consequences of Being First
Posted: Sep. 16, 2016


BWW Review: Village's Fresh PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES WowsBWW Review: Village’s Fresh PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES Wows
Posted: Sep. 19, 2016


BWW Review: STAGEright's TOXIC AVENGER – Fun but as Solid as Toxic WasteBWW Review: STAGEright’s TOXIC AVENGER – Fun but as Solid as Toxic Waste
Posted: Sep. 19, 2016


BWW Review: Mildly Funny SCAB from Many Hats Goes NowhereBWW Review: Mildly Funny SCAB from Many Hats Goes Nowhere
Posted: Sep. 6, 2016


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Emotionally Transcendent COME FROM AWAY at Seattle RepBWW Review: Emotionally Transcendent COME FROM AWAY at Seattle Rep
Posted: Nov. 19, 2015


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: Shocking and Powerful DISGRACED at Seattle RepBWW Review: Shocking and Powerful DISGRACED at Seattle Rep
Posted: Jan. 14, 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 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: Don't Speak!  Just Go See BULLETS OVER BROADWAY at the ParamountBWW Review: Don’t Speak! Just Go See BULLETS OVER BROADWAY
Posted: Feb. 3, 2016


BWW Review: STAGEright's TOXIC AVENGER  Fun but as Solid as Toxic Waste
September 19, 2016

There's nothing wrong with a bit of mindless fun at the theater. Some of my happiest memories are sitting in a darkened theater laughing hysterically at Mormons or man eating plants or oversexed puppets. But while the fun in those instances may be base and mindless they were all still backed up by a well crafted and well put together show and that's where "The Toxic Avenger Musical", currently being offered from STAGEright, falls flat. Sure, it's goofy, in your face, over the top fun but appealing to our love of things a little bit gross and repeatedly calling someone a slut cannot replace good writing and pacing.
BWW Review: Village's Fresh PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES WowsBWW Review: Village's Fresh PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES Wows
September 19, 2016

Even if you are familiar with the seldom produced country musical "Pump Boys and Dinettes" you're reaction to it probably isn't a wild one. In fact when I heard it was opening Village Theatre's season I thought, "Well, this will be cute" but my excitement didn't go much further beyond "cute". I'd seen the show once years ago and have had the cast album forever but it's not what you might call one of my "go to" shows. But with this new production out at Village Theatre that may all change. This is not the production from the 80's or really any production you're likely to have seen. With this level of talent and new orchestrations this could revive this old chestnut. But I'll get to that in a minute.
BWW Review: Hard Hitting ROYALE at ACT Examines Consequences of Being FirstBWW Review: Hard Hitting ROYALE at ACT Examines Consequences of Being First
September 16, 2016

Let me start, Dear Readers, by saying I have never had an appreciation for boxing. I've just never understood why it's important to find out who can beat up someone else the best or, alternatively, who can take a beating the best. Having said that, the current production of Marco Ramirez's stirring play "The Royale" at ACT is not about boxing. Sure the backdrop of the story is boxing but moreover it's about the choice to take personal groundbreaking victories even in the shadow of danger to your friends and family. And that is a much more interesting fight than who can punch who the hardest.
BWW Review: Sweet Yet Powerful WINTER'S TALE from Seattle ShakesBWW Review: Sweet Yet Powerful WINTER'S TALE from Seattle Shakes
September 12, 2016

There are some productions of Shakespeare which need all the flashy costumes and sets and transplanting to non-traditional times and places in order to make the show shine. And then there are productions like the outstanding production of "The Winter's Tale" currently being offered from Seattle Shakespeare Company where they've assembled such a talented cast and crew, innately fluent with the meaning of the show, who only require a few chairs and platforms and where the flash would just get in the way. It's those shows that remind us why we love theater when a group of actors can mesmerize us with their words.
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!
September 10, 2016

Are there any taboo subjects for musicals anymore? I mean we've had shows about serial killers and assassins, drug addicts and prisoners, demons and super powered psychotic teens, and even oversexed puppets. So I don't know why anyone should be surprised by the new musical at ACT in conjunction with ArtsWest and Circle X Theatre Co., 'Bad Apples' which takes a look at one of our countries most disgraceful moments, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. This in your face rock musical will definitely not be everyone's cup of tea and especially not for the kids. But if you can get past all the language, sex, and horrific images then what you're left with is a killer show that looks at how easily people in power can justify appalling acts.
BWW Review: Mildly Funny SCAB from Many Hats Goes NowhereBWW Review: Mildly Funny SCAB from Many Hats Goes Nowhere
September 6, 2016

If you're going to put your personal problems up on stage then, please, have a reason for telling them, some kind of journey or growth, and/or make them interesting. Unfortunately the issues put forth in Sheila Callaghan's play "Scab", currently playing as the inaugural Seattle production from Many Hats Theatre, have none of those elements. Instead, the main character rambles on and waxes poetic about how depressed and confused she is for two hours and ultimately learns nothing resulting in one of my biggest pet peeves in theater, someone else's therapy on stage.
BWW Review: Frothy Fun from Sound Theatre Company's ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORSBWW Review: Frothy Fun from Sound Theatre Company's ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS
August 20, 2016

Do you have an allergy or aversion to laughter? If so, my condolences and this show might not be for you. But if not then you should get yourself down to the Center House Theatre to catch Sound Theatre Company's current production of "One Man, Two Guvnors". Get ready for two and a half hours gut busting laughter and some of the best psychical comedy around.
BWW Review: Sumptuous Feast for All Senses with Williams Project GLASS MENAGERIEBWW Review: Sumptuous Feast for All Senses with Williams Project GLASS MENAGERIE
August 19, 2016

Tennessee Williams' 'The Glass Menagerie' is a tough piece to pull off with all its emotion and meaning in tact but luckily new to town company The Williams Project is more than up to the task. Add into that some down home cookin' from the folks at Cafe Nordo and you've got yourself an evening to satisfy all your senses.
Village Theatre's 16th Annual Village Originals Festival of New MusicalsVillage Theatre's 16th Annual Village Originals Festival of New Musicals
August 17, 2016

Well it may have been hotter than blazes this past weekend but I managed to spend the weekend inside at one of my favorite events of the year, The Village Theatre Village Originals Festival of New Musicals. They presented concert stagings of five musicals still in the works. It's a great opportunity for the authors to get to see their shows in front of an audience and for us to get a sneak peak at amazing musical theater to come. Now as they are still being workshopped I can't really review any of them but I can tell you what I saw.
BWW Review: Searing BLUES FOR MISTER CHARLIE from The Williams ProjectBWW Review: Searing BLUES FOR MISTER CHARLIE from The Williams Project
August 4, 2016

Dear Readers, I have some really great news for you. The Williams Project, the incredible company that gave us the scintillating 'Orpheus Descending' last year, is back in Seattle and their latest offering, 'Blues for Mister Charlie' by James Baldwin just provides further proof that this is a top notch company of theater professionals at the top of their game.
BWW Review: Banal Conversation with No Plot in ReAct's THE ALIENSBWW Review: Banal Conversation with No Plot in ReAct's THE ALIENS
July 19, 2016

I'm seriously starting to believe that Annie Baker thinks she gets paid for her plays based on how long they are. Furthermore she finds the banal conversations of random people fascinating. She must as once again we have a play from Ms. Baker, this time from ReAct Theatre with "The Aliens", with little to no story and jam packed with lengthy pauses.
BWW Review: SCT's Uneven LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT Has Moments but Not EnoughBWW Review: SCT's Uneven LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT Has Moments but Not Enough
July 18, 2016

It's tough when you see a play that has some really amazing moments but also sits there and screams, "My God I need an editor!" Such is the case with Stephen Adly Gurgis' "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" currently performing at the Center Theatre from Sound Theatre Company. Not only could Gurgis do with trimming down this piece that tends to ramble but the folks at SCT could do with tightening their performances as well. But we'll get to that in a minute.
BWW Review: Powerful Political and Historical Tension in ACT's World Premiere DAISYBWW Review: Powerful Political and Historical Tension in ACT's World Premiere DAISY
July 18, 2016

In our current political climate where candidates regularly hurl insults at each other on things such as penis size it's hard to remember that politics used to be about the candidate's stand on issues as well. So when did that change? When did we go from building up our own candidate in an ad to tearing down the other candidate with scandal, derision and fear? ACT might have the answer to that with their world premiere play "Daisy" that takes a look into the creation of one of the most infamous political ads and one of the first attack ads ever created.
BWW Review: Outrageously Fun GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE Hits 5th AveBWW Review: Outrageously Fun GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE Hits 5th Ave
July 15, 2016

When you're catching the touring production of a show you saw with it's original cast on Broadway, you hope that the folks on tour will be up to par at least somewhat. Such was my fear catching the touring company of the Tony Award winning Best Musical "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" currently playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre especially for one quite daunting role where the actor must play nine different people. Well, luckily the touring company was completely up to the task especially in that one role making for a hilarious and rousing evening that only did honor to my memory of the original.
BWW Review: Sweet BIG FISH at Taproot Lacks PowerBWW Review: Sweet BIG FISH at Taproot Lacks Power
July 11, 2016

Back in 2013 Andrew Lippa sent his latest work off to Broadway. "Big Fish", based on the movie of the same name, was sure to be a big hit. But for some reason this sweet little tuner failed to catch fire and closed in just under 4 months. Sadly with such a tepid reception no tour of the show was ever planned so the only way anyone would see this lovely show would be a regional production. Fortunately we currently have one of those for "Big Fish" at Taproot Theatre. Unfortunately, while there's plenty of talent in the show, one of the leads wasn't quite up to the task vocally and for a big, ballad laden musical that can be deadly.
BWW Review: Theatre9/12's SPEED THE PLOW Needs a Touch More FocusBWW Review: Theatre9/12's SPEED THE PLOW Needs a Touch More Focus
July 11, 2016

There's nothing like a well done David Mamet play with its verbal sparring, clever dialog and constant exchange of power. But in order to be great the performances need to be so laser focused and on point you could cut glass with them. And while the current production from Theatre9/12 of "Speed the Plow" is on its way to that level, they still need a bit more settling into the roles in order to be fully committed.
BWW Review: Music, Mayhem and Man Eating Sharks in TWISTER BEACH at Caf Nordo
July 8, 2016

Break out your flip flops and Hawaiian shirts because it's time to head on down to the beach, "Twister Beach", the latest in culinary craziness from Mark Siano and Opal Peachey at Cafe Nordo. This modern day twist on the old Beach Blanket Bingo movies of the 50's and 60's offers up something for everyone with that Siano/Peachey brand of insanity liberally sprinkled on stop making for a super fun evening.
BWW Review: Alan Cumming at Seattle's Town Hall is in a Word, Fabulous!BWW Review: Alan Cumming at Seattle's Town Hall is in a Word, Fabulous!
July 5, 2016

If you happened to be in the vicinity of The Town Hall in Seattle last night, and not fortunate enough to be inside, then you may have noticed that the atmosphere was a little cooler, a little sexier, a little more poignant and basically fabulous. Well that's due to the fact that outrageous star of stage and screen Alan Cumming was performing his 'Alan Cumming Sings Happy Songs' cabaret to promote the album of the same name. We'll get to the album in a minute but first let's talk about what it was like to be in the presence of a genius showman.
BWW Review: Rewritten PAINT YOUR WAGON at 5th Ave is Better but Still Has ProblemsBWW Review: Rewritten PAINT YOUR WAGON at 5th Ave is Better but Still Has Problems
June 10, 2016

I'll admit unfamiliarity with Lerner and Loewe's "Paint Your Wagon" before recently. Never saw the original, never saw the movie, and had only a passing familiarity with the bigger songs in it. So to educate myself before seeing this production I watched the movie, which was also rewritten from the original musical version but what I had available to me. Wow, what a train wreck that is! Horrific story, songs that move nothing along and a movie that seems to be there solely for Lee Marvin to mug to the camera. So I was trepidatious to say the least about this rewritten version at the 5th Avenue Theatre and after seeing it I'm of two minds.
BWW Review: Strawshop's 9 CIRCLES Elicits Powerful Emotions on WarBWW Review: Strawshop's 9 CIRCLES Elicits Powerful Emotions on War
June 6, 2016

Sometimes you go to a show and you see what can only be described as a "Star Turn". That performance that shows just how amazing an actor is. But what do you call it when you see it over and over again? Lately I call it Conner Neddersen as, just like his previous stellar performances, his performance in Strawberry Theatre Workshop's current production of "9 Circles" shows off once again just how fine of an actor he is and how he keeps growing better and better with each role.


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