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


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


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
Posted: May. 6, 2017


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


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


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


BWW Review: WET's CHERDONNA'S DOLL'S HOUSE Beats the Joke to Death then QuitsBWW Review: WET's CHERDONNA'S DOLL'S HOUSE Beats the Joke to Death then Quits
Posted: Apr. 29, 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: 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: 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 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.

BWW Review: WET's CHERDONNA'S DOLL'S HOUSE Beats the Joke to Death then QuitsBWW Review: WET's CHERDONNA'S DOLL'S HOUSE Beats the Joke to Death then Quits
April 29, 2017

If you're going to riff on a classic, then have something to add to the conversation. Sometimes it works beautifully such as the amazing 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead' or the current critically acclaimed Broadway hit 'A Doll's House, Part 2'. But without something new to add any kind of parody just becomes a self-indulgent pale rehash of the original. Such is the case with 'Cherdonna's Doll's House' currently playing from Washington Ensemble Theatre.

BWW Review: Powerful and Poignant ODE at West of LeninBWW Review: Powerful and Poignant ODE at West of Lenin
April 28, 2017

You may remember, Dear Readers, my lack of affinity for performance art. I usually just find it confusing and lacking much meaning, which ultimately makes me feel like I'm just not smart enough to get what they're trying to convey. So with that in mind you'll understand how well crafted Nike Imoru's "Ode" currently playing at West of Lenin must be as I not only got what she was trying to convey but was riveted.

BWW Review: Gripping FROZEN at ArtsWest Feels Like a Documentary at TimesBWW Review: Gripping FROZEN at ArtsWest Feels Like a Documentary at Times
April 23, 2017

First off, Dear Readers, let me explain that you will see no singing Ice Princesses or wacky snowmen in this show. This particular play called "Frozen", currently playing at ArtsWest, is about as far away from the Disney movie as it could be considering it deals with serial killers. And while the performances are quite powerful and it's a very interesting subject, at times it feels like a lecture on serial killers and other times a drama with some superfluous storylines.

BWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE SECRET GARDEN Has the Talent But Not the FeelsBWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE SECRET GARDEN Has the Talent But Not the Feels
April 22, 2017

Way back in 1991 a young fledgling theater geek saw a performance from the new musical "The Secret Garden" by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon on the Tony awards and he became obsessed with it. He listened to the cast album over and over and fell completely in love with it when he saw the first national tour as it came through town. That young theater geek was, of course, me. And since then the show has managed to work its way into being one of my all-time favorites. I've seen several productions over the years, some good and some not so good. I've even been fortunate enough to be a part of a production. So you'll understand, Dear Readers, that I'm quite picky about this show. Well there's a new reworked version of the show currently playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre and the best thing I can say for it is that there's a lot of talent up on that stage. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of missteps including the rework that does nothing to improve the already wonderful show. If fact it saps much of the heart in favor of making it shorter.

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
April 21, 2017

A few years back on one of my trips to New York, pretty much anyone I talked to about what shows I was seeing was aghast that I wasn't seeing 'Here Lies Love' Off-Broadway. And to each of them I'd say, 'a musical about Imelda Marcos written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim? No thanks, not my thing.' I mean sure, an interesting story and I have respect for the artists (if not much familiarity) but how would this work? Well, now with the new production currently playing at the completely-reconfigured-for-the-show Seattle Rep I'm being forced to sit down to a healthy serving of crow and it's delicious. Not only due to the thoroughly innovative staging and stellar performances but also for Byrne and Fatboy Slim creating a fresh method of storytelling that is a welcome addition to musical theater.

BWW Review: SCT's NADESHIKO - Two Stories with Not Much to SayBWW Review: SCT's NADESHIKO - Two Stories with Not Much to Say
April 16, 2017

In Keiko Green's 'Nadeshiko', currently getting its world premiere from Sound Theatre Company, there are two stories happening on the stage. Only one of the stories is very well fleshed out and only one is very interesting and unfortunately they're not the same story. With stiff and stilted dialogue, pacing, and acting, the play amounts to a look into an interesting part of history most are unfamiliar with but doesn't explore that history in an interesting way.

BWW Review: MURDER FOR TWO at ACT Slays with LaughsBWW Review: MURDER FOR TWO at ACT Slays with Laughs
March 31, 2017

Expect to be killed when you attend the current production of "Murder for Two" at ACT Theatre in conjunction with The 5th Avenue Theatre. You won't be shot or stabbed but you certainly run the risk of busting a gut, passing out from a lack of oxygen, or just generally dying of laughter largely due to the comic brilliance of its two leads.

BWW Review: Seattle Public's GROUNDED Soars into the BlueBWW Review: Seattle Public's GROUNDED Soars into the Blue
March 27, 2017

Anytime a theater does a one person show it's a risky proposition. You, of course, need the right piece. You need a good set that doesn't detract from the lone performer on stage. You need good direction of that performer so it doesn't feel too static. And most importantly, you need a performer who can grab ahold of the audience right away and lead them on their journey. Well lucky for Seattle Public Theater and for us, they have all those things and then some with their current production of "Grounded", a production that will shake you to your core.

BWW Review: Fantastic Z's BAD PANDA Examines Alternative FamiliesBWW Review: Fantastic Z's BAD PANDA Examines Alternative Families
March 27, 2017

In this ever-changing society of ours it's nice to see shows that take a look at different kinds of love and families. Such is the case with Megan Gogerty's "Bad Panda" currently being offered from Fantastic Z Theatre. And while at times the script felt a bit heavy handed and the production lacked some levels, the show as a whole is a sweet and touching look at another way to look at the issue of what truly makes a family.

BWW Review: A PROPER PLACE at Village Shipwrecks ItselfBWW Review: A PROPER PLACE at Village Shipwrecks Itself
March 24, 2017

There's the old adage in any kind of entertainment that if you have a strong finish, the audience can forgive some pitfalls that may have come before. Unfortunately the new work currently playing at Village Theatre has many of those pitfalls (and some good moments too) but they're followed by one of the most egregiously bad, anti-climactic and lackluster endings I think I've ever seen.

BWW Review: Darkly Funny DRY POWDER at the Rep Lacks Much ElseBWW Review: Darkly Funny DRY POWDER at the Rep Lacks Much Else
March 23, 2017

There's a well-known TV and Film writer who has a reputation for those quick witted, fast paced banter conversations (sometimes in the halls of the White House and sometimes while creating a social media platform. You know who I mean). And it's fun to listen to these people be more eloquent and quick than any of us could ever be in real life without a script. Now take those quick banter scenes, expand them to the length of an entire play, and pack them full to the brim with enough numbers and financial lingo that anyone outside Goldman Sachs would feel lost and what you have is Sarah Burgess' play "Dry Powder" currently playing at the Seattle Rep.

BWW Review: Raucous Fun in Ghost Light's MACBETT but Lacks LevelsBWW Review: Raucous Fun in Ghost Light's MACBETT but Lacks Levels
March 13, 2017

It's fine to be in the audience's face and have a scene's energy turned up to 11 but when you do it for the entire play, it gets tiring. That's the issue with Ghost Light Theatricals' current production of "Macbett". Sure it's an absurdist comedy piece but they can have levels too and without them, by the end of the play you wish they'd stop yelling at you.

BWW Review: ACT's TRIBES – Touching and Engaging But a Bit Cliché and Forced
March 10, 2017

I want to start off, Dear Readers, by stating that I really did enjoy ACT's current production of "Tribes". There are some great performances and it's a funny, engaging play with rich dialog. But even with my level of enjoyment in the moments of the play I can't help but also see some glaring shortcomings in the piece itself specifically having to do with the characters and their arcs. But let's set the stage (so to speak) first.



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