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 Review: Reboot's FLY BY NIGHT Charms but Mires Itself in RepetitionBWW Review: Reboot’s FLY BY NIGHT Charms but Mires Itself in Repetition
Posted: Nov. 6, 2016


BWW Review: SMT's SWEENEY TODD Has the Voices but not the CharacterBWW Review: SMT’s SWEENEY TODD Has the Voices but not the Character
Posted: Nov. 14, 2016


BWW Review: NCTC's THE BIG MEAL is a Feast of Emotions and Brilliant PerformancesBWW Review: NCTC’s THE BIG MEAL is a Feast of Emotions and Brilliant Performances
Posted: Nov. 7, 2016


BWW Review: Radial's WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT Takes a Visceral Emotional JourneyBWW Review: Radial’s WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT Takes a Visceral Emotional Journey
Posted: Nov. 4, 2016


BWW Review: Village's SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Fun but Lacks SparkBWW Review: Village’s SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Fun but Lacks Spark
Posted: Nov. 11, 2016


BWW Review: Book-It's TREASURE ISLAND – A Swashbuckling Good TimeBWW Review: Book-It’s TREASURE ISLAND – A Swashbuckling Good Time
Posted: Nov. 28, 2016


BWW Review: THE FINAL CUT Is the Funniest When From THE HABITBWW Review: THE FINAL CUT Is the Funniest When From THE HABIT
Posted: Nov. 14, 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 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: Fantastic Z's PSYCHO BEACH PARTY Provides Hot Kitschy HilarityBWW Review: Fantastic Z’s PSYCHO BEACH PARTY Provides Hot Kitschy Hilarity
Posted: May. 27, 2016


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

The playwright of Vietgone, currently playing at the Seattle Rep, tells us from the beginning that this is not a war story but a love story. Well he also tells us that this is in no way based on his parents and we know that's a lie. But while it's not necessarily a story about war but a love story with a war as it's backdrop, the show does manage some very interesting perspectives on war that the average American might not have.

BWW Review: Wacky Christmas in Spaaaaaaaace with CHRISTMAS IS BURNING at Caf Nordo
December 5, 2016

Welcome aboard the HMS Whooville for your holiday excursion. But don't expect a quick trip around the solar system as the crew takes you on an adventure across space and time and they feed you too! It's "Christmas is Burning" from the folks at Cafe Nordo and Sgt. Rigsby and while the script may be a little thin at times (they say so themselves) the crazy antics and delicious meal completely make up for that.

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
December 5, 2016

Just a few days ago I reviewed a show that, if you remember, I felt had one major downfall; that the newer songs bringing it from the film version to the stage version had lyrics written by Glenn Slater. Now, just a few blocks from that other production, Showtunes puts up a concert of another film to stage adaptation with all of the lyrics written by Glenn Slater and music from Alan Menken. And while there were certainly some wonderful voices in the concert it just proves one thing that Showtunes needs to pay attention to, not all shows need a revival.

BWW Review: Seattle Public Theater's CHRISTMASTOWN is a Winning Holiday DiversionBWW Review: Seattle Public Theater's CHRISTMASTOWN is a Winning Holiday Diversion
December 5, 2016

Let me see if I can get us into that Noir mood, Dear Readers. It was an uncertain time in the City of Emeralds. The holidays were here and it looked like it we'd be offered up the same old holiday shows. But then a sultry new offering breezed through my door. With a jingle and a jangle and a ho ho ho Seattle Public Theater stood before me with "Christmastown: A Holiday Noir" and with it's hilarious script and cast proved that our holiday entertainment need not be limited to the same old ghosts, nativities and red nosed reindeer.

BWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE LITTLE MERMAID is Swimmingly MagicalBWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE LITTLE MERMAID is Swimmingly Magical
December 2, 2016

The original animated film of "Disney's The Little Mermaid" is arguably one of the best of the Disney canon. With songs written by the incredible Alan Menken and Howard Ashman it marked the rebirth of the Disney animated musicals. The original conversion of it into a Broadway musical was not so great. With bad staging and flow, achieving the illusion of swimming by putting the actors on Heelys (shoes with wheels in the heels) so they would glide across stage, and additional songs from Menken and Glenn Slater (owing to the passing of the great Howard Ashman) the show lost much of it's core cleverness and heart in favor of the cliche and gimmicky. Now there's a new version with a reworked book and score and much improved staging which is currently being offered at the 5th Avenue Theatre and while it still may not have that magical greatness of the original film it does manage a magic of its own largely due to some new stage magic and a stellar cast including an Ariel (Diana Huey) who is the most layered, honest, real and still adorable Disney Princess ever.

BWW Review: Book-It's TREASURE ISLAND  A Swashbuckling Good Time
November 28, 2016

I remember my first exposure to Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, "Treasure Island". It wasn't the book but rather an animated version they showed occasionally during Saturday morning cartoons and although I haven't seen that one in years I remember loving it for its thrilling swashbuckling adventure and rich characters including a bad guy who wasn't all that bad even though he was a bloodthirsty pirate. Well I'm happy to say all those feelings from childhood came rushing back the other night as I watched Book-It Repertory Theatre's current adaptation. I mean, swarthy pirates, sword fights, and buried treasure. How can you go wrong?

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's KING CHARLES III Fails to Live Up to the HypeBWW Review: Seattle Rep's KING CHARLES III Fails to Live Up to the Hype
November 23, 2016

There's always a danger in any kind of entertainment that the show will be hyped up so much that when you finally see it, it cannot possibly live up to the image in your mind. I largely think such is the issue with my lack of zeal over King Charles III, currently playing at the Seattle Rep. I had heard so much about this one on how funny and original it was but instead what I got was a play that while interesting, felt long winded and only offered me a few scant chuckles.

BWW Review: SMT's SWEENEY TODD Has the Voices but not the CharacterBWW Review: SMT's SWEENEY TODD Has the Voices but not the Character
November 14, 2016

Probably one of the most difficult shows in American musical theater to pull off right is Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street". It's got incredibly complex music with layers upon layers of intertwining vocals, a bevy of rich, complex characters and a dark and foreboding tone that when done wrong can just come across as comical. Unfortunately the current production from Seattle Musical Theatre misses the mark on each of these qualities. Not completely mind you as there were some notable exceptions but never the complete package to make this production shine.

BWW Review: THE FINAL CUT Is the Funniest When From THE HABITBWW Review: THE FINAL CUT Is the Funniest When From THE HABIT
November 14, 2016

For 20 years The Habit has thrilled us with their hilarious sketch comedy antics. But like all good things, they too must come to an end. But with "The Habit: The Final Cut" the boys manage to send us off into our slightly less mirthful uncertain world with style.

BWW Review: Village's SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Fun but Lacks SparkBWW Review: Village's SINGIN' IN THE RAIN Fun but Lacks Spark
November 11, 2016

Arguably one of the best movie musicals there is, "Singin' in the Rain" has always held a very special place in my heart. Probably the first bit of entertainment that put me on the path of musical geekdom thanks to my Mom. So when I heard Village Theatre was putting up a stage production of the classic I was excited. And while every iconic moment from the movie is there (and I do mean EVERY one) and it was a fun night, the show lacks that special spark of the original and felt like a rehash of the bits of the movie but not so much the heart.

BWW Review: NCTC's THE BIG MEAL is a Feast of Emotions and Brilliant PerformancesBWW Review: NCTC's THE BIG MEAL is a Feast of Emotions and Brilliant Performances
November 7, 2016

Either I'm getting soft in my old age or everyone has decided to bring out their big guns (theatrically) at the end of the year as this is the third show in two weeks that has absolutely floored me. New Century Theatre Company's 'The Big Meal' takes what can be a simple romantic comedy/family drama and turns it into a sumptuous journey served up by some of the most gifted actors in town. And on a personal note, they managed to turn me into a weeping snot monster which hasn't been done at this level since another NCTC show, 'Mary's Wedding'.

BWW Review: Reboot's FLY BY NIGHT Charms but Mires Itself in RepetitionBWW Review: Reboot's FLY BY NIGHT Charms but Mires Itself in Repetition
November 6, 2016

With their second production, Reboot Theatre Company hopes to charm its audience with this sweet little tuner "rebooted" by the company with its gender bent casting. Unfortunately, as talented and likable as the cast is, the show fails on two very important levels. It's certainly not little at 2 hours and 40 minutes and the casting does nothing to add to the story or the tone except to dilute the story in some places.

BWW Review: Radial's WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT Takes a Visceral Emotional JourneyBWW Review: Radial's WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT Takes a Visceral Emotional Journey
November 4, 2016

Dear Readers, there's not much I can tell you about Nassim Soleimanpour's searing play, 'White Rabbit Red Rabbit' currently having it's Northwest Premiere at 18th and Union from Radial Theater Project. I'm unable to tell you about the play not because I don't remember but because you shouldn't know in advance. That's part of the show. I urge you not to Google any information about the show. But I also equally urge you to move hell or high water to catch this one, as it's a thrilling emotional journey unlike anything you're likely to have seen before.

BWW Review: ACT's Deliciously Naughty and Complex DANGEROUS LIAISONSBWW Review: ACT's Deliciously Naughty and Complex DANGEROUS LIAISONS
October 29, 2016

One of my favorite things in seeing all the shows I do is to stumble upon one that I like to refer to as 'alchemy'. It's that rare instance where all of the elements, the script, actors, director, set, costume, lights, music, etc all come together in just the right way and at just the right times to form pure gold. It may look like science or technical expertise but it's really just magic. One of those shows is ACT's current production of Christopher Hampton's 'Dangerous Liaisons'. If in seeing this show you are not able to have a thrilling night then you're just not paying attention.

BWW Review: Seattle Shake's MEDEA  A Shining Performance Disrupted by Gimmicks
October 27, 2016

Euripides' tragic title character in 'Medea' is one of those parts that actresses give their eye teeth (or even sacrifice their children) to play. She's a strong and committed woman with a wildly emotional arc. So with a role such as this where it's really all up to the lead, for the rest of the production I find it best to follow the rule of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Unfortunately director Kelly Kitchens and the folks at Seattle Shakespeare Company had other ideas with their current production as it was so laden down with their storytelling gimmicks that the story and the stunning lead performance became diluted.

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
October 24, 2016

Powerful plays such as "Angels in America" and "The Normal Heart" have driven right to the heart of the AIDS epidemic by spotlighting the ignorance and bureaucracy at the center of the disease which allowed it to spiral out of control so quickly. But beyond the gay community there was another group on the periphery of this pandemic that were hit equally hard and in some ways worse in those early days when the President even refused to say the word AIDS in public. The hemophiliacs. The Seattle Rep's new World Premiere play "Roz and Ray" offers up a peek inside that world and creates a powerful look at the kind of harm people with the best intentions can do.

BWW Review: Dark Gritty Infidelity in Sidecountry's MURDER BALLADBWW Review: Dark Gritty Infidelity in Sidecountry's MURDER BALLAD
October 24, 2016

Sometimes some of the best shows out there are the cult followed ones, the ones that are really only known by niche groups or musical theater nerds. While mainstream audiences may go to shows about green girls or founding fathers, there are other audiences who travel off the beaten path to see shows Off-Broadway (or even Off-Off=Broadway) but those shows don't always get a life after their Off-Broadway Runs. Such a show could be the successful but short lived show "Murder Ballad". Luckily there are companies such as Sidecountry Theatre who take on these gems regionally the same way they tackled the brilliant "Passing Strange" a little while ago. And they tackle them with not only talent but also the obvious love and respect for a piece that deserves a wider audience.

BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL at the Paramount Lives Up to Its NameBWW Review: BEAUTIFUL at the Paramount Lives Up to Its Name
October 20, 2016

The major problem I have seen with jukebox musicals is they may have the music to entertain with a nostalgic value but not the book. Then there's the pitfall of the music itself being so focused on one artist that, unless you're a die-hard fan, you can get bored ('Jersey Boys' falls into both traps for me). But sometimes there are shows like 'Beautiful: The Carole King Musical' currently performing at the Paramount Theatre that manage to hurtle both obstacles with seeming ease. Yes, the songs are all there but as we're looking at the career of a songwriter as well as performer we get a very diverse sound. Plus the book goes well beyond 'and then I did this song, and then I did that song' with a thoroughly engaging story making this one of those rare jukebox musicals that works on every level.

BWW Review: The Dream is Impossible with 5th Ave's MAN OF LA MANCHABWW Review: The Dream is Impossible with 5th Ave's MAN OF LA MANCHA
October 19, 2016

Dale Wasserman, Mitch Leigh, and Joe Darion's "Man of La Mancha" is a bona fide classic. It's a sweeping epic filled with power, pathos, romance, and tragedy when it's done right. The show is by no means bulletproof. I've seen incredible productions and I've seen mediocre productions. And after the current production at the 5th Avenue Theatre now I can say I've seen an atrocious production. Not only does it do no honor to the beauty of the original but it also does no honor to basic tenets of good musical theater. And for a musical theater nerd such as myself, that makes for an offensive evening.

BWW Review: Teatro ZinZanni's Exuberant WELCOME TO WONDERLANDBWW Review: Teatro ZinZanni's Exuberant WELCOME TO WONDERLAND
October 14, 2016

I don't think I've ever seen a bad Teatro ZinZanni show. I mean I really don't think there could be one unless they inexplicably decided to sit on the stage and blankly stare at the audience for three hours while serving us large plates of runny eggs and sour milk. Teatro ZinZanni shows are always a good bet for an evening of bliss and their current offering, 'Welcome to Wonderland' is no exception.



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