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: 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: 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: 5th Ave Proves It Knows HOW TO SUCCEED …BWW Review: 5th Ave Proves It Knows HOW TO SUCCEED ...
Posted: Feb. 5, 2016


BWW Review: Theatrical CRIMES OF THE HEART-less at Village TheatreBWW Review: Theatrical CRIMES OF THE HEART-less at Village Theatre
Posted: Jan. 23, 2016


BWW Review: Seattle Shakes' TITUS ANDRONICUS More Than Just BloodyBWW Review: Seattle Shakes’ TITUS ANDRONICUS More Than Just Bloody
Posted: Jan. 18, 2016


BWW Review: Edgily Funny and Heartfelt MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT from WETBWW Review: Edgily Funny and Heartfelt MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT from WET
Posted: Jan. 17, 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 Reviews: WICKED at Paramount a Bit Flat but Still WickedBWW Reviews: WICKED at Paramount a Bit Flat but Still Wicked
Posted: Jul. 10, 2015


Summer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Picks for SeattleSummer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Picks for Seattle
Posted: May. 30, 2015


BWW Reviews: Seattle Rep's LIZARD BOY Has Come to Save Us!BWW Reviews: Seattle Rep’s LIZARD BOY Has Come to Save Us!
Posted: Apr. 2, 2015


BWW Review: Risky and Innovative AMERICAN IDIOT at ArtsWest Pays OffBWW Review: Risky and Innovative AMERICAN IDIOT at ArtsWest Pays Off
Posted: Sep. 14, 2015


BWW Reviews: 5th Ave's JASPER IN DEADLAND Provides No Reason to LiveBWW Reviews: 5th Ave’s JASPER IN DEADLAND Provides No Reason to Live
Posted: May. 15, 2015


BWW Review: BUZZER at ACT Feels Overly Self ImportantBWW Review: BUZZER at ACT Feels Overly Self Important
February 6, 2016

It's one thing when a play is meaningful and important, something most plays strive for. It's another thing when a play tries to be meaningful and important. And it's yet another thing when a play insists that it's meaningful and important. Unfortunately Tracey Scott Wilson's play 'Buzzer', currently playing at ACT, falls squarely into that second camp and teeters to fall into the third.
BWW Review: 5th Ave Proves It Knows HOW TO SUCCEED
February 5, 2016

Dear Reader (It only seems appropriate to start this review off with that), sometimes a show comes along that feels like a no brainer. A show that's fairly bulletproof and if a theater does it well enough with enough pieces in place then it'll be a crowd pleaser. 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying' is one of those shows. You're bound to walk away from it with something you enjoyed. Which brings me to the current production at the 5th Avenue Theatre. They've managed to take this pleaser of a show so far beyond the bare minimum making this gem shine with so much brilliance that you may need sunglasses.
BWW Review: Don't Speak!  Just Go See BULLETS OVER BROADWAY at the ParamountBWW Review: Don't Speak! Just Go See BULLETS OVER BROADWAY at the Paramount
February 3, 2016

Let me start by saying that I've never seen the original movie of "Bullets Over Broadway" all the way through. I'm just not a Woody Allen fan. So a musical interpretation of it didn't exactly thrill me. So what about the current production turned me around? Was it the story? It's cute but nothing life changing. Was it the music? All the songs are minor adaptations of old standards from the 1920's and 30's so not really. No, it was the cast currently playing at the Paramount that took this fun show and amped it up to zany hilarity and made it an absolute delight.
BWW Review: SPT's AMADEUS Has Too Few NotesBWW Review: SPT's AMADEUS Has Too Few Notes
February 1, 2016

Peter Shaffer's stirring play "Amadeus" can move you to the point of tears, but only when it's done well. It is by no means a bulletproof play. Unfortunately the current production at Seattle Public Theater, while managing a few interesting performances, really just stands out as having an unfocused concept and is about as engaging as a history lecture.
BWW Review: Bleak WAITING FOR LEFTY from Theatre9/12BWW Review: Bleak WAITING FOR LEFTY from Theatre9/12
February 1, 2016

Clifford Odets built a career off of writing dramas that dealt with class inequality and social injustice in the depression era. His first ever produced play, "Waiting for Lefty", certainly falls into that category. And while the current production from Theatre9/12 does manage some stirring performances, they can't escape the bleak nature of the play itself as Odets drives home over and over the inescapable nature of the era.
BWW Review: Sweet, Romantic and Tragic CONSTELLATIONS at the Seattle RepBWW Review: Sweet, Romantic and Tragic CONSTELLATIONS at the Seattle Rep
January 28, 2016

Who hasn't wanted a 'do-over' when on a date? Maybe you say the wrong thing, maybe you run into your ex or maybe you trip the waiter, which causes him to knock over a flaming dessert that burns the restaurant to the ground. We've all been there, right? Well according to Nick Payne's beautiful play 'Constellations', currently playing at the Seattle Rep, we might take solace in that there are multiple universes with multiple versions of us who might say or do something a little different.
BWW Review: Adorably Interactive WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE at Seattle Children's TheatreBWW Review: Adorably Interactive WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE at Seattle Children's Theatre
January 25, 2016

Most of us fell in love with Maurice Sendak's enchanting book "Where the Wild Things Are" when we were kids and still kids today all know of the tale of Max's journey to the island of the Wild Things. But how many kids actually get to join in on the Wild Rumpus? Well now kids in Seattle can with the award-winning, internationally acclaimed production from Vancouver's Presentation House Theatre performing at Seattle Children's Theatre. This highly interactive stage production actually makes Wild Things out of your kids (more than they already are) and takes them on a magical journey that is just as amazing for the adults as it is for the kids.
BWW Review: Dark and Edgy IN ARABIA WE'D ALL BE KINGS at Theater SchmeaterBWW Review: Dark and Edgy IN ARABIA WE'D ALL BE KINGS at Theater Schmeater
January 25, 2016

Stephen Adly Guirgis has made a name for himself for creating glimpses inside the worlds of the rougher and edgier parts of town. Places inhabited by junkies, hookers and criminals like those in his shows 'In Arabia We'd All Be Kings' currently at Theater Schmeater and 'The Motherf**ker with the Hat' currently from Washington Ensemble Theatre (yes, we have two Guirgis shows in town right now). But while the characters in both shows are well written and developed and thoroughly engaging, those in 'In Arabia ' seem to be lacking a complete narrative or plot making it more of a character study than a story.
BWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's THE BIRDS Creeps in Good and Bad WaysBWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's THE BIRDS Creeps in Good and Bad Ways
January 23, 2016

First off if you're expecting to see a Tippi Hedren lookalike being chased by animatronic birds in Strawberry Theatre Workshop's current production of "The Birds" then you'll be quite disappointed. This is not an adaptation of Hitchcock's film but of Daphne du Maurier's book. But even though we never really see the attackers, the evening still contains a good amount of creepiness. After all, the monsters in our minds are scarier than anything they could show us.
BWW Review: Theatrical CRIMES OF THE HEART-less at Village TheatreBWW Review: Theatrical CRIMES OF THE HEART-less at Village Theatre
January 23, 2016

In Beth Henley's play "Crimes of the Heart", currently playing at Village Theatre, the character of Meg says, "To talk about our lives. It's an important human need." Well an important theatrical need is for the characters in a play to listen to each other and not just wait for their next bit but there was very little listening going on in the show I saw last night and that was just one of the issues that sapped the heart right out the show making this Pulitzer Prize winning play feel more a sitcom.
BWW Review: Seattle Shakes' TITUS ANDRONICUS More Than Just BloodyBWW Review: Seattle Shakes' TITUS ANDRONICUS More Than Just Bloody
January 18, 2016

Power shifts, betrayal, adultery, rape, murder and lots and lots of blood. No it's not the latest Tarantino film but it might as well be as Seattle Shakespeare Company puts up their latest effort, "Titus Andronicus" but with a dark and edgy grindhouse feel. But beyond all the blood there's still some wonderful Shakespeare behind it and some stirring moments from the cast.
BWW Review: Edgily Funny and Heartfelt MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT from WETBWW Review: Edgily Funny and Heartfelt MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT from WET
January 17, 2016

As you may know, Dear Readers, I recently criticized another currently running show for having shock for shock sake with not enough narrative. So when I see a title like "The Motherf**ker with the Hat", the current offering from Washington Ensemble Theatre, I get a little worried that I may be in for more of the same. And while the show may have more F bombs than you can shake a hat at and there is a very clear warning of language and nudity posted at the theater, the difference is this play just portrays an honest and real look at the lives of its characters and what results is a funny and heartfelt show where the "shock value" fades into the background in favor of a wonderfully developed and ever evolving story.
BWW Review: Shocking and Powerful DISGRACED at Seattle RepBWW Review: Shocking and Powerful DISGRACED at Seattle Rep
January 14, 2016

In theater, as with any art form, playwrights can walk a fine line between telling a riveting and honest story and saying things simply for shock value. Ayad Akhtar's Pulitzer Prize winning play "Disgraced", currently playing at the Seattle Rep, walks that line. And while on the whole this extremely powerful piece opens its audiences up to an examination of who we are at our core, in retrospect I'll admit to feeling a bit manipulated as I recall harsh one-liners piled on top of each other culminating in a crescendo of shock. Effective shock but at times dipping its toe over the line into shock for shock sake and feeling a bit contrived.
BWW 2015 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2015 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
January 4, 2016

Dear Readers, I hope you've all fared well over the holidays and had a good time with your families. It's been a tumultuous year with lots of great theater for us to take in. And so I'm pleased to share with you some of the best things I saw this past year and the ones that I felt worthy of getting my Critic's Choice Awards for 2015. So settle in and allow me to expound on all the amazing I saw over the year. The envelope please.
BWW Review: Say 'Hello' to the New Year with THE BOOK OF MORMON at The ParamountBWW Review: Say 'Hello' to the New Year with THE BOOK OF MORMON at The Paramount
January 1, 2016

That unstoppable juggernaut that is 'The Book or Mormon' is back in Seattle and just as deliciously fun as ever. We all know how good the show is. We all know we're going to laugh our butts off at the crass humor while falling in love with the wonderful characters and infectious musical theater gold. So it all really just rests on the cast for this particular tour and let me say, they bring it as usual and even add in a few elements I've not seen in the show before.
BWW Review: Forced RUTH AND THE SEA from Pacific Play Company Offers No ResolutionBWW Review: Forced RUTH AND THE SEA from Pacific Play Company Offers No Resolution
December 12, 2015

In Horton Foote's beautiful play "A Trip to Bountiful" we care about the journey because we care about Carrie and the characters around her. Unfortunately in Morgan Ludlow's new play "Ruth and the Sea", currently playing at Annex Theatre from Pacific Play Company, we have few chances to get to know or like Ruth and her family as we mostly just end up seeing them be bitter and snarky to each other. That coupled with some forced dialog and exposition and clunky story structure, and what amounts is a journey that I wish I hadn't taken.
BWW Review: Static but Still Fun EMMA at Book-It RepertoryBWW Review: Static but Still Fun EMMA at Book-It Repertory
December 7, 2015

It's been 200 years since Jane Austen's incorrigible matchmaker "Emma" first came on the scene in print and since has spawned film versions, adaptations and has never been out of print since its release. And while the current adaptation from Book-It Repertory Theatre keeps the mischievousness and attitudes alive, at times if feels a little too static making this romp drone on a bit.
BWW Review: Holiday-ish Hilarity in HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS at ACTBWW Review: Holiday-ish Hilarity in HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS at ACT
December 7, 2015

Everyone has their own personal hallmarks that the holiday season has arrived. For some it's catching that favorite movie on TV such as "It's a Wonderful Life" or "The Sound of Music", for others it might be heading downtown to see the lights and carolers. But for me in my own warped and twisted way, the holidays cannot begin until I get to see the latest irreverent collection of insanity from Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt (a.k.a. Dos Fallopia). And while this year's offering of "Ham for the Holidays: Who's Afraid of Virginia Ham?" currently at ACT is a bit light on the holiday themes, it doesn't mean it's at all light on the comedy.
BWW Review: The Hills Are Alive with Character in 5th Ave's SOUND OF MUSICBWW Review: The Hills Are Alive with Character in 5th Ave's SOUND OF MUSIC
December 4, 2015

Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'The Sound of Music' is one of those mainstays of the American Musical Theater canon that has endured over the years. Pretty much anyone with a passing interest in musical theater has seen it in some form whether the Julie Andrews film, countless stage productions or even the recent live broadcast on TV (which I like to pretend never happened). And why has the show endured for over 55 years? Because it's simply a well written show. But the problem I find with most productions (especially that one that didn't exist) is the performers sing the well-written songs well but the character and thus the story is lost. Well that is not the case with the current production at the 5th Avenue Theatre which had so much character and story in addition to the beautiful voices that I almost felt like I was seeing the show for the first time.
BWW Review: Emotionally Transcendent COME FROM AWAY at Seattle RepBWW Review: Emotionally Transcendent COME FROM AWAY at Seattle Rep
November 19, 2015

Dear Readers, for those that may only read the beginnings of my reviews, I must start off this by telling you to stop reading this right now and go get tickets to the new musical "Come From Away" currently at the Seattle Rep. After you have done that you can come back and read the rest of this. I'll wait. Done? OK now that you've done that I can tell you that what you will be seeing is the best musical I've seen all year and possibly ever. At least it will rank in my top 10 of shows that have affected me so much with its sheer brilliant storytelling and heart. This one CANNOT be missed!


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