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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 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 Reviews: STAGEright's Minimalist INTO THE WOODS Alive with CharacterBWW Reviews: STAGEright’s Minimalist INTO THE WOODS Alive with Character
Posted: Apr. 13, 2015


BWW Reviews: NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY Brings Twisted Macabre Fun to VillageBWW Reviews: NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY Brings Twisted Macabre Fun to Village
Posted: Mar. 23, 2015


BWW Reviews: Abba-licious Fun at MAMMA MIA! at the ParamountBWW Reviews: Abba-licious Fun at MAMMA MIA! at the Paramount
Posted: Mar. 25, 2015


BWW Reviews: Giddy Comedy Gold in Seattle Shakes' TARTUFFEBWW Reviews: Giddy Comedy Gold in Seattle Shakes’ TARTUFFE
Posted: Mar. 23, 2015


BWW Reviews: The Return of Hilarity with Theatre22's LIVE! FROM THE LAST NIGHT OF MY LIFEBWW Reviews: Theatre22’s LIVE! FROM THE LAST NIGHT OF MY LIFE
Posted: Mar. 30, 2015


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Reviews: MARY POPPINS Not Quite So Magical at VillageBWW Reviews: MARY POPPINS Not Quite So Magical at Village
Posted: Nov. 14, 2014


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 Reviews: Balagan's ERNEST SHACKLETON Has Come to Rescue Us from the OrdinaryBWW Reviews: Balagan's ERNEST SHACKLETON Has Come to Rescue Us from the Ordinary
Posted: Apr. 20, 2014


BWW 2014 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2014 Seattle Critic’s Choice Awards (Jay’s Picks)
Posted: Jan. 8, 2015


BWW Interviews: Interview with Former Balagan Executive Director Jake Groshong on the Closing of BalaganBWW Interviews: Interview with Former Balagan Executive Director Jake Groshong
Posted: Sep. 29, 2014


BWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's A CHRISTMAS STORY Comes Home to Find Its HeartBWW Reviews: 5th Avenue’s A CHRISTMAS STORY Comes Home to Find Its Heart
Posted: Dec. 5, 2014


BWW Reviews: SCT's ROBIN HOOD Is Back to Thrill UsBWW Reviews: SCT's ROBIN HOOD Is Back to Thrill Us
April 19, 2015

Back in 2011 some friends told me about this amazing production of "Robin Hood" going on over at Seattle Children's Theatre and like a dolt I missed it. (Bad theater reviewer!) Well luckily for me and for all of us that amazing production, complete with the same cast, director and set, is back and fairly well blew me away as to how incredible it is for both young and old.
BWW Reviews: Sadly A FUNNY THING HAPPENED  On the Way to Being Funny at SMTBWW Reviews: Sadly A FUNNY THING HAPPENED On the Way to Being Funny at SMT
April 13, 2015

Sondheim's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" has been a go to for theaters for years. It's big and loud and can be a crowd pleaser. But should it be? Yes, it can be a very funny show if it's done right. But, as is the case with Seattle Musical Theatre's current production, when it's not done right it can be a plodding mess.
BWW Reviews: STAGEright's Minimalist INTO THE WOODS Alive with CharacterBWW Reviews: STAGEright's Minimalist INTO THE WOODS Alive with Character
April 13, 2015

All too often in musical theater the performers have pretty voices but do the standard "park and bark" and just belt out those tunes with no character or story behind it. Such is not the case with the 12 person ensemble of STAGEright's current production of "Into the Woods" who not only sang the Sondheim score beautifully but also managed a ton of both comedic and dramatic timing to actually convey their characters (many of whom had multiple characters) making this one of the best productions I've seen.
BWW Reviews: SPT's SLOWGIRL Examines Consequences; Lacks GrowthBWW Reviews: SPT's SLOWGIRL Examines Consequences; Lacks Growth
April 4, 2015

Character studies of two disparate people thrown together are all well and good. The conflict between the two can amount for high drama and/or comedy gold. And the characters in Seattle Public Theatre's current production of "Slowgirl" are quite different from each other. But for that conflict to amount to something, one or both of the characters needs to grow or discover something about themselves otherwise you're left with a great big "And ?" And unfortunately in "Slowgirl" I didn't really see much of a change by the end leaving me somewhat interested in them but less than satisfied.
BWW Reviews: Seattle Rep's LIZARD BOY Has Come to Save Us!BWW Reviews: Seattle Rep's LIZARD BOY Has Come to Save Us!
April 2, 2015

It's always exciting when the new bit of awesomeness to hit the theater scene comes to Seattle first. Such is the case with the brand new musical "Lizard Boy" written, composed and starring the uber-talented Justin Huertas currently playing at the Seattle Rep. This 90 minute journey of love, acceptance and scales embodies so much promise, potential and genuine love of storytelling that I can easily see this going far beyond Seattle. So you'll want to catch it now for some theater nerd bragging rights.
BWW Reviews: The Return of Hilarity with Theatre22's LIVE! FROM THE LAST NIGHT OF MY LIFEBWW Reviews: The Return of Hilarity with Theatre22's LIVE! FROM THE LAST NIGHT OF MY LIFE
March 30, 2015

Let's set the way back machine to September 2011 and we'll visit a time when Theatre Schmeater's production of a new play from Wayne Rawley kind of took Seattle by storm. It sold out houses and won several local awards. Now 3 years later and Theatre22 has tried to recreate the magic by remounting the show with the same cast and much of the same crew. And Doug Sample (Ryan Higgins) and the rest of the cast may look a bit older but they're also more seasoned and focused performers as they manage to not only rediscover much of that magic but in some ways surpass it.
BWW Reviews: Contini's Ladies Make Showtunes' NINE SublimeBWW Reviews: Contini's Ladies Make Showtunes' NINE Sublime
March 30, 2015

I've never quite understood why Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit's "Nine" is so under produced regionally. It's fun, flirty and sexy with some of the most stunningly beautiful songs that unfortunately too few are familiar with. It could be that in order to produce it correctly you need one killer ensemble of women (and Guido of course) who can handle the piece. Well, as is their way, Showtunes Theatre Company has taken this underdone gem and dusted it off and thankfully found that stellar ensemble to tackle it in their current concert version. Too bad it's only for two performances.
BWW Reviews: Abba-licious Fun at MAMMA MIA! at the ParamountBWW Reviews: Abba-licious Fun at MAMMA MIA! at the Paramount
March 25, 2015

It has no huge morally important message to deliver. It won't be stopping wars or fixing societal unrest. But what "Mamma Mia!", currently playing at the Paramount Theatre, does do and has always done is to be fun. A fluffy, bubblegum, rockin' good time and seriously that's enough.
BWW Reviews: Hard Hitting WE ARE PROUD  from Pony World TheatreBWW Reviews: Hard Hitting WE ARE PROUD from Pony World Theatre
March 24, 2015

The current production from Pony World Theatre may not be everyone's cup of tea. I mean it's already got a few things that may make people shy away. One of the longest titles in theatrical history to start, We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 by Jackie Sibblies Drury. Or how about that it's about a little known genocide? In fact I wasn't sure how I was feeling about it as it tended toward a little preachy and esoteric. But this odd and very hard hitting play ended up having so much going for it, not the least of which was it's cast, that it amounted to quite a moving experience.
BWW Reviews: NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY Brings Twisted Macabre Fun to VillageBWW Reviews: NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY Brings Twisted Macabre Fun to Village
March 23, 2015

A serial killer being hunted by the police sounds like ripe fodder for a musical comedy, right? No? Well then you need to expand your perception and get out to Village Theatre to catch their current production of "No Way to Treat a Lady" which not only manages to amuse while it horrifies but also boasts a killer ensemble each of whom slays their roles.
BWW Reviews: Giddy Comedy Gold in Seattle Shakes' TARTUFFEBWW Reviews: Giddy Comedy Gold in Seattle Shakes' TARTUFFE
March 23, 2015

Moliere's "Tartuffe" is already a classic drink from the comedy well from which many have drawn. But what director Makaela Pollock and the folks at Seattle Shakespeare Company have done with their current production is to take that comedy and reinvigorated it with a kind of screwball comedy style making the already funny downright giddy hilarity.
BWW Reviews: Theater Schmeater's THE MOST DESERVING Isn'tBWW Reviews: Theater Schmeater's THE MOST DESERVING Isn't
March 23, 2015

How do you decide what is deserving to be considered as art both monetarily and sociologically? Yes, it's all very subjective and depending on the person but for me, especially with theater, it needs to convey some sort of message or at least an engaging story. Unfortunately the current production of "The Most Deserving" at Theater Schmeater missed the mark in those regards as it failed to engage me on a number of levels and came across more as watching a bland Lifetime Original movie mixed with the Government Access Channel.
BWW Reviews: NCTC's THE FLICK Drags Like a Bad RomComBWW Reviews: NCTC's THE FLICK Drags Like a Bad RomCom
March 16, 2015

You know when you're in a store or restaurant or even a movie theater and you overhear the conversations of the workers and take that little peak into their lives? Well now there's a nearly three hour play about that, "The Flick" by Annie Baker currently performing from the folks at New Century Theatre Company. And it's only slightly more interesting than the real thing.
BWW Reviews: 5th Ave and ACT's JACQUES BREL Delivers Edgy BeautyBWW Reviews: 5th Ave and ACT's JACQUES BREL Delivers Edgy Beauty
March 13, 2015

Even Musical Theater nerds such as myself might not be familiar with Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well & Living in Paris, currently performing at ACT in a joint production with ACT and the 5th Avenue Theatre. I, myself, admit only a passing familiarity with the work and mostly from the covers that others have done of some of his songs. But now that I've seen it done I can understand the cultish following the show engenders and thankfully it was this production that filled the gap in my Musical Theater knowledge as this incredible ensemble took every angst ridden note and made them soar.
BWW Reviews: Seattle Rep's THE COMPARABLES Examines Powerful WomenBWW Reviews: Seattle Rep's THE COMPARABLES Examines Powerful Women
March 12, 2015

What does it take for women to be accepted as equals and succeed in the business world? Do they just need to be as ruthless and cutthroat as men or is there another way? The Seattle Rep's world premiere of Laura Schellhardt's "The Comparables" takes a look at these very questions and while we may have gotten an inside look at the world of powerful women I'm not sure we ever really got an answer to any of those questions.
BWW Reviews: Cultural Divides in ArtsWest's CHINGLISHBWW Reviews: Cultural Divides in ArtsWest's CHINGLISH
March 7, 2015

The message of a cultural divide, sometimes hilarious and sometimes tragic, is there in ArtsWest's current production of David Henry Hwang's "Chinglish" but it just needs to settle into a more concise telling of the story. I'm sure it will settle in over time but there was just a lack of pacing as if the actors weren't quite sure of their next line. But that's fairly understandable as about half of the play is in Chinese.
BWW Reviews: Arouet Gets Bleak with NINE and THE LONG ROADBWW Reviews: Arouet Gets Bleak with NINE and THE LONG ROAD
March 1, 2015

Arouet is currently presenting two very dark and bleak one act plays with "Nine" and "The Long Road". Now don't get me wrong. Bleak and dark can work as long as they engage and don't preach. Unfortunately only one of these plays somewhat manages that. But we'll get to that in a minute.
BWW Reviews: ACT's SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE Feels AnticlimacticBWW Reviews: ACT's SEVEN WAYS TO GET THERE Feels Anticlimactic
February 27, 2015

There are two main problems with doing a show about therapy, such as ACT's world premiere of "Seven Ways to Get There" currently playing. First, that someone else's therapy on stage can be good for the author but often times deadly for the audience. Luckily Bryan Willis and Dwayne J. Clark's new play avoids that trap. But the larger trap is that therapy doesn't really have a definite ending so you either portray an unrealistic look at the world of therapy or, as is the case here, the play just kind of ends as the people involved with the therapy continue onward working on their issues. And while the show definitely has engaging characters and performances, that lack of closure and finality for the audience doesn't work out so well theatrically.
BWW Reviews: Paramount's Fresh CINDERELLA is a Lovely NightBWW Reviews: Paramount's Fresh CINDERELLA is a Lovely Night
February 25, 2015

Sometimes a little retooling and freshening up of an old classic isn't such a bad thing. I mean I was a little dubious when I heard they were remounting the classic of "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella" especially when I heard it was getting an all new book. But the tour of this new version still keeps all the magic and charm alive while adding in some humor and elements that just make the characters all the more rich and engaging.
BWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's CAROUSEL Lacks Emotion, Needs More SnowBWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's CAROUSEL Lacks Emotion, Needs More Snow
February 23, 2015

If you read my previous review, Dear Readers, of SMT's production of "Sweet Charity" you'll know that I already had the occasion this weekend of a show where the leading lady just didn't connect for me. Well, that seems to be a trend as the 5th Avenue Theatre's current production of "Carousel" also had a leading lady who was lacking. There's plenty of good things happening in the show but their Julie Jordan (Laura Griffith) came across as emotionless and stone faced making me wonder why or even if she was falling in love.


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