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: MAP Theatre's GREENSWARD Exposes the Cutthroat World of GrassBWW Review: MAP Theatre's GREENSWARD Exposes the Cutthroat World of Grass
Posted: Jul. 8, 2017


BWW Review: Taproot's Sweet PERSUASION Brims with PotentialBWW Review: Taproot's Sweet PERSUASION Brims with Potential
Posted: Jul. 15, 2017


BWW Review: Gripping and Beautiful FUN HOME at the 5th AvenueBWW Review: Gripping and Beautiful FUN HOME at the 5th Avenue
Posted: Jul. 14, 2017


BWW Review: Caf? Nordo's SUNDOWN AT THE DEVIL'S HOUSE is Anything But HellishBWW Review: Caf? Nordo's SUNDOWN AT THE DEVIL'S HOUSE is Anything But Hellish
Posted: Jul. 22, 2017


BWW Review: ACT's Stirring ALEX & ARIS Relies Too Much on Advance KnowledgeBWW Review: ACT's Stirring ALEX & ARIS Relies Too Much on Advance Knowledge
Posted: Jul. 23, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... LiterallyBWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... Literally
Posted: Apr. 21, 2017


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: Tarnished CABARET at Paramount Shows How Good This Classic Can BeBWW Review: Tarnished CABARET at Paramount Shows How Good This Classic Can Be
Posted: Jun. 14, 2017


BWW Review: Seattle Rep's WELL Hilariously Deconstructs One-Woman ShowsBWW Review: Seattle Rep?s WELL Deconstructs One-Woman Shows
Posted: Feb. 16, 2017


BWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE LITTLE MERMAID is Swimmingly MagicalBWW Review: 5th Avenue?s THE LITTLE MERMAID is Swimmingly Magical
Posted: Dec. 2, 2016


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


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: ACT's Stirring ALEX & ARIS Relies Too Much on Advance KnowledgeBWW Review: ACT's Stirring ALEX & ARIS Relies Too Much on Advance Knowledge
July 23, 2017

There are certain shows out there that, while being engaging and performed well, make you feel like you're missing something. Many of the plays of Tom Stoppard are that way for me in that, unless you've taken a master class on that particular subject matter, you may not get the full impact. The World Premiere of Moby Pomerance's "Alex & Aris", currently playing at ACT, falls into this category. Stirring performances and crisp dialog but unless you've taken the prerequisite class on Greek history you may fall behind.

BWW Review: Café Nordo's SUNDOWN AT THE DEVIL'S HOUSE is Anything But Hellish
July 22, 2017

Don't let this worry you but it's time to summon the Devil. Well that's the conceit of the current show at Cafe Nordo, "Sundown at the Devil's House". And while they may not summon up THE Devil they do summon up some delicious food, hilarious and touching antics and rockin' music making for a devilishly good time.

BWW Review: Taproot's Sweet PERSUASION Brims with PotentialBWW Review: Taproot's Sweet PERSUASION Brims with Potential
July 15, 2017

There are certain things that spring to mind when thinking of a Jane Austen story. Blistering on again, off again romances. Sweeping emotions. And of course, Colin Firth emerging from a lake. Well the new musical adaptation of Jane Austen's "Persuasion", currently playing at Taproot Theatre, may not have Colin Firth but the romances and emotions are there in spades.

BWW Review: Gripping and Beautiful FUN HOME at the 5th AvenueBWW Review: Gripping and Beautiful FUN HOME at the 5th Avenue
July 14, 2017

It's not a revival of an old classic. It doesn't have the cache of a recognizable movie title. And it's got a synopsis that may make some people weary. All of these reasons could be why there were far too many empty seats at last night's opening night of "Fun Home" at the 5th Avenue. And that fact of the open seats makes me incredibly sad as this Tony Winner for Best Musical deserves so much more attention as it's one of the most honest, raw and real musicals around today. I cannot urge you enough to see this show.

BWW Review: MAP Theatre's GREENSWARD Exposes the Cutthroat World of GrassBWW Review: MAP Theatre's GREENSWARD Exposes the Cutthroat World of Grass
July 8, 2017

I always hated mowing the lawn as a kid but it was one of the chores with which I was saddled. So, if someone told me they invented a grass that only needed mowing once a year I'd be all over that. But some might not appreciate this new revelation and do anything to stop it. This utterly absurd premise is the crux of new play written by Seattle favorite R. Hamilton Wright and being offered by MAP Theatre. And while the premise may be absurd what's not absurd is the clever writing and fantastic performances in a show that'll have you reeling with laughter.

BWW Review: Intensity and Anger Abounds in Theatre22's DOWNSTAIRSBWW Review: Intensity and Anger Abounds in Theatre22's DOWNSTAIRS
June 18, 2017

Some plays are light bits of fluff, perfect for an evening's entertainment filled with laughs and warm fuzzy feelings. Others, however, take you to a dark and intense place filled with foreboding and anger and, if you're lucky, some gripping performances. Theatre22 and ACTLab's west coast premiere of Theresa Rebeck's "Downstairs", currently playing ACT, is definitely the latter and definitely has those gripping performances. In fact, I'll even go as far as to say it has some of the best performances I've seen all year.

BWW Review: 5th Ave's Cute ROMY AND MICHELE Isn't Lyrical or CatchyBWW Review: 5th Ave's Cute ROMY AND MICHELE Isn't Lyrical or Catchy
June 17, 2017

Take a silly yet beloved movie that breeds nostalgia in all who love it and turn it into a musical. It's the way of the world of musical theater anymore. Sure, we still get some original pieces but the safe money for producers is on the recognizable name. Sometimes it works and sometimes it crashes and burns. 'Legally Blonde' works, 'The Wedding Singer' kind of works, and 'Amelie' definitely did not. And now the latest to join the ranks of those movie translations to musical theater is trying things out at the 5th Avenue Theatre. I am, of course, referring to 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, The Musical'. A cute and quirky little romp that has potential but needs some serious help before it falls into the 'it works' category.

BWW Review: ACT's LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE Struts and Sashay's into SeattleBWW Review: ACT's LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE Struts and Sashay's into Seattle
June 16, 2017

Are you adverse to fun or having a good time? If so, then just stop reading now and move on. If not, keep reading and then get yourself down to ACT to catch "The Legend of Georgia McBride" for some fabulous numbers, fake boobs and hell on heels all wrapped up in a fun and engaging story.

BWW Review: Tarnished CABARET at Paramount Shows How Good This Classic Can BeBWW Review: Tarnished CABARET at Paramount Shows How Good This Classic Can Be
June 14, 2017

The 1998 Sam Mendes staging of Kander and Ebb's classic "Cabaret" has come through the Paramount several times. And why not? It's a great show and a big crowd pleaser. But it requires a cast that gets the show and the tone to be done right. Fortunately for us the current tour at the Paramount is a shiny (or rather intentionally not shiny) example of how good this show can be and why it's still an enduring classic.

BWW Review: New Century's THE REALISTIC JONESES is Clever but UnsatisfyingBWW Review: New Century's THE REALISTIC JONESES is Clever but Unsatisfying
June 12, 2017

Give me a good old fashioned play with a good old fashioned structure; a beginning, a middle and an end. Or if not, if you insist on a slice of life play, at least have something interesting to say about said life. Instead, what Will Eno's play, "The Realistic Jones", the current offering from New Century Theatre Company, gives us is an hour and 40 minutes of somewhat clever dialog from some stuck, sad people that I wouldn't want to spend 5 minutes with let alone an entire play.

BWW Review: Powerful and Biting WELCOME TO BRAGGSVILLE Comes to Book-ItBWW Review: Powerful and Biting WELCOME TO BRAGGSVILLE Comes to Book-It
June 11, 2017

In our current society where the issues of race and education are everywhere it's refreshing when a story comes along that still brings up those issues and provokes the conversation but without lecturing. T. Geronimo Johnson's book "Welcome to Braggsville" is such a story with its gripping story and vibrant characters and Book-It Repertory Theatre has brought that story to life with some outstanding young performers.

BWW Review: ArtsWest's SWEENEY TODD Sounds Good but InconsistentBWW Review: ArtsWest's SWEENEY TODD Sounds Good but Inconsistent
June 9, 2017

The Sondheim classic "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" is one of those shows that everyone wants to put their own stamp on. It's an incredibly rich show and quite difficult to perform requiring a killer cast (pun intended). There have been concerts, productions where the actors play the instruments, and now an Off-Broadway production where they actually serve the audience hot pies. And locally it's been done to excess. Now ArtsWest has thrown their razors into the ring with their own particular take on this anti-hero by offering it up with a diverse cast and in a somewhat timeless era London. And while there are some decent voices up there, overall the cast lacks character intent and the diversity and time shift lend nothing to the story and at times muddy it.

BWW Review: Intiman's BARBECUE Sizzles with Familial and Racial TensionBWW Review: Intiman's BARBECUE Sizzles with Familial and Racial Tension
June 3, 2017

It's going to be very tough, Dear Readers, to tell you about the latest offering from Intiman Theatre, 'Barbecue', as I don't want to give anything away. The show is packed full of twists, turns and misdirections that for me to tell you much would be tantamount to writing up a review of certain movies and sharing details like, Rosebud is a sled, Darth Vader is Luke's Father, or Bruce Willis is a ghost too. But I will try simply by saying that Robert O'Hara's play is quite engaging and filled with rich dialog and his script is only served by some outstanding performers.

BWW Interview: How Composers Gwendolyn Sanford and Brandon Jay Will Make Us All Have a ROMY AND MICHELE Day
May 25, 2017

I was fortunate enough to have a quick chat with Gwendolyn SanfordandBrandon Jay, the composers of the new musical version of the film 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion', about to make its world premiere at the 5th Avenue Theatre.

BWW Review: SPT's Thoughtful GRAND CONCOURSE Crackles with Stunning PerformancesBWW Review: SPT's Thoughtful GRAND CONCOURSE Crackles with Stunning Performances
May 21, 2017

It's always the quiet ones you have to look out for. That sentiment works well for people but in this case also for a certain theater, Seattle Public Theater. They don't put on the biggest, most well-known shows and they're not always in the foreground of people's thoughts for "must go" theater but maybe they should be. They've been fairly consistent this season in putting on edgy shows with which you may not be instantly familiar but once immersed in them what you get are some stunning performances, starting the season with their killer "On Clover Road" and leading up to their current offering "Grand Concourse". I'll admit to an unfamiliarity with the piece before going but now that I have I can do nothing but recommend catching it especially in order to catch four incredibly thoughtful and engaging performances.

BWW Review: GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! Slays with Historical FictionBWW Review: GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! Slays with Historical Fiction
May 13, 2017

Attention all you Broadway producers out there or even you wanna-be producers or just people who love to laugh, you'll want to head on down to the Jewelbox Theater at the Rendezvous to catch two comedy savants educate us with some historical fiction with "Gutenberg! The Musical!" But maybe don't expect to learn anything, just expect to laugh.

BWW Review: Village Has Your DREAMGIRLS, Boys.  And They'll Make You Happy!BWW Review: Village Has Your DREAMGIRLS, Boys. And They'll Make You Happy!
May 12, 2017

Back in the day when I was a mere fledgling musical theater geek I was introduced to the show 'Dreamgirls'. You might say this was my gateway cast album that put me on the path toward the musical addict I am today as I practically wore out the CD. So you'll understand if I'm a little picky about this show. I mean, how could someone live up to the magic of Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine? Since then I've seen a few productions that have all been OK but never got me there until now. And true, you can't ever really compare with the originals but the current production from Village Theatre does a mighty fine job.

BWW Review: Sweepingly Beautiful AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at ParamountBWW Review: Sweepingly Beautiful AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Paramount
May 10, 2017

'An American in Paris' is one of those films that, when you mention it, people who have seen it give a contented little sigh. And those people, and many more, can add the stage version to give them that warm fuzzy feeling as the tour, currently playing at the Paramount, brings in much of the same music, dance, and romance as the film.

BWW Review: Seattle Shakes Musical MIDSUMMER Hits Several Bad NotesBWW Review: Seattle Shakes Musical MIDSUMMER Hits Several Bad Notes
May 7, 2017

I've never been a fan of transplanting classic works such as Shakespeare to "new and exciting" locales and time periods but I have seen it work as long as the adaptation enhances the existing story somehow or at the very least makes sense with the story. Unfortunately, Seattle Shakespeare Company's current musical adaptation of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with a 1930's movie musical bent fails on both respects and then some. It's got a few elements in it that work but overall it makes little sense and the added music adds nothing but confusion.

BWW Review: Seattle Children's Theatre's Gala Sparkles with Kelli O'HaraBWW Review: Seattle Children's Theatre's Gala Sparkles with Kelli O'Hara
May 6, 2017

Last night musical theatre nerds around the Seattle area may have felt a disturbance in the force as if there was a diva among us. Well, if you did you can take solace in that you were right however unless you were there you certainly missed out as Broadway's Kelli O'Hara killed it during her performance at the Seattle Children's Theatre's fundraising gala.



...
1