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: THE SUIT at Seattle Rep is Simply BeautifulBWW Reviews: THE SUIT at Seattle Rep is Simply Beautiful
Posted: Mar. 21, 2014


BWW Reviews: Seattle Shakes' IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Is Thoroughly DelightfulBWW Reviews: Seattle Shakes' IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Is Thoroughly Delightful
Posted: Mar. 23, 2014


BWW Reviews: A Bit Too YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at SMT Still Sparks With LifeBWW Reviews: A Bit Too YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at SMT Still Sparks With Life
Posted: Mar. 24, 2014


BWW Reviews: THE TUTOR at Village Theatre Abandons ItselfBWW Reviews: THE TUTOR at Village Theatre Abandons Itself
Posted: Mar. 27, 2014


BWW Reviews: SEATTLE VICE at ACT Remembers the Smutty FunBWW Reviews: SEATTLE VICE at ACT Remembers the Smutty Fun
Posted: Apr. 4, 2014


BWW Reviews: SSR's KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN Lacks The Heat and The FearBWW Reviews: SSR's KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN Lacks The Heat and The Fear
Posted: Mar. 30, 2014


BWW Interview: Chatting about ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME with Valerie Vigoda and Wade McCollumBWW Interview: Chatting about ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME with Valerie Vigoda and Wade McCollum
Posted: Apr. 9, 2014


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Reviews: ISABELLA ROSSELLINI: GREEN PORNO Is A Naughty EducationBWW Reviews: ISABELLA ROSSELLINI: GREEN PORNO Is A Naughty Education
Posted: Nov. 5, 2013


BWW 2013 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2013 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
Posted: Dec. 30, 2013


BWW Reviews: How Village's LES MISERABLES Made Me Remember Why I Love This ShowBWW Reviews: How Village's LES MISERABLES Made Me Remember Why I Love This Show
Posted: Nov. 14, 2013


BWW Reviews: A Bit Disjointed but SECONDHAND LIONS at 5th Ave Full of Fantasy and HeartBWW Reviews: SECONDHAND LIONS at 5th Ave Full of Fantasy and Heart
Posted: Sep. 27, 2013


BWW Reviews: Balagan's CARRIE: THE MUSICAL Shines Despite Production and Material WoesBWW Reviews: Balagan's CARRIE: THE MUSICAL Shines Despite Production and Material Woes
Posted: Oct. 14, 2013


BWW Reviews: Balagan Takes JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA to Hell and Back AgainBWW Reviews: Balagan Takes JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA to Hell and Back Again
Posted: Jan. 11, 2014


BWW Reviews: NCTC's TAILS OF WASPS Explores the 'What' of Scandal But Lacks the 'Why'BWW Reviews: NCTC's TAILS OF WASPS Explores the 'What' of Scandal But Lacks the 'Why'
April 11, 2014

A world premiere play from one of Seattle's best, Stephanie Timm, directed by one of Seattle's best, Darragh Kennan and from one of Seattle's best theatre groups, New Century Theatre Company. Seems like a dead lock winner right? But while I still found "Tails of Wasps" currently playing at ACT thoroughly engaging and interesting I wasn't so blown away by it as I have been by others from this group. And yes, I may be holding them up to a higher standard, but that's what you get for consistently being on the top.
BWW Interview: Chatting about ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME with Valerie Vigoda and Wade McCollumBWW Interview: Chatting about ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME with Valerie Vigoda and Wade McCollum
April 9, 2014

Balagan Theatre is bringing one of the oddest topics for a musical to the Seattle Rep with the world premiere of "Ernest Shackleton Loves Me". From anyone else this might seem like a stretch but from the minds of Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn, who brought us the likes of Striking 12 and Sleeping Beauty Wakes, along with book writer Joe DiPietro, a story about a single mother/musician who begins a Skype conversation with Ernest Shackleton as he journeys across the Antarctic is just a jumping off point for something magical. I recently sat down with co-author and one of the leads of the show Valerie Vigoda along with fellow cast mate Wade McCollum to discuss this odd pairing.
BWW Reviews: SEATTLE VICE at ACT Remembers the Smutty FunBWW Reviews: SEATTLE VICE at ACT Remembers the Smutty Fun
April 4, 2014

Psst! Hey Buddy! Yeah you! You lookin' for a good time with some scantily clad performers who are ready and willing to do whatever you want while putting on a hell of a show? Well then you'd better hop in your time machine and head back the 1960's because Seattle doesn't do that anymore. But luckily we have "Seattle Vice" now performing over at ACT which takes a look back at those grittier days of Seattle in the 60's where the booze and the boobs flowed freely.
BWW Reviews: SSR's KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN Lacks The Heat and The FearBWW Reviews: SSR's KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN Lacks The Heat and The Fear
March 30, 2014

A musical about imprisonment, homosexuality, fascist regimes, revolutionaries, morphine addiction and a movie star; must be Kander and Ebb because only they could pull it off so beautifully. But their "Kiss of the Spider Woman" is not often produced possibly due to its harsh themes but also that it's a very difficult show to stage and perform with its rich nuances. And while the current production at SecondStory Repertory has some wonderful performances, ultimately the choices and in some cases additions to the show made it lack the passion and danger the show needs to up the stakes of its story.
BWW Reviews: THE TUTOR at Village Theatre Abandons ItselfBWW Reviews: THE TUTOR at Village Theatre Abandons Itself
March 27, 2014

You're a cute little new musical that has workshopped itself at Village in their Village Originals program twice before. You have an interesting storyline and a fun little gimmick. You start off a little weak but there are sparks of potential. So why would you completely abandon that cute storyline and gimmick by Act Two and then proceed to beat your audience over the head with a tired message of letting time work things out? (A message that made no sense for what preceded by the way.) Unfortunately this is the question I found myself asking at Village Theatre's "The Tutor". Sure the performers shine but they shine in a show that has no idea what it wants to be or where it wants to go.
BWW Reviews: A Bit Too YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at SMT Still Sparks With LifeBWW Reviews: A Bit Too YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at SMT Still Sparks With Life
March 24, 2014

I always question the wisdom of these smaller theaters working with almost no budgets putting up these big flashy Broadway shows. They're not going to have the funds for lavish sets and racks of fancy costumes. But even without all that Seattle Musical Theatre managed to take Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" and create an evening of naughty fun with some truly solid performances.
BWW Reviews: Seattle Shakes' IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Is Thoroughly DelightfulBWW Reviews: Seattle Shakes' IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Is Thoroughly Delightful
March 23, 2014

When Seattle Shakespeare Company hits one out of the park they do it with gusto. Such is the case with their current production of Oscar Wilde's battle of witty banter, "The Importance of Being Earnest". They've managed to take Wilde's delightful romp and made it even more delightful by executing it with magnificent precision in all aspects. If I had to find one drawback with the production it's that it ended as I, for one, was having entirely too good a time.
BWW Reviews: ROYAL BLOOD at West of Lenin Digs Up Dysfunction Amidst PerfectionBWW Reviews: ROYAL BLOOD at West of Lenin Digs Up Dysfunction Amidst Perfection
March 23, 2014

I'll admit to a certain amount of trepidation when going to see the world premiere of "Royal Blood" by Sonya Schneider at West of Lenin. I mean a world premiere play about a dysfunctional family with characters based on the author's relations. It sounds like one of my least favorite things in theater, someone else's therapy on stage. Not to mention that everyone wants to be "August: Osage County" these days. And sure, while there were a few elements that read a touch predictable, fortunately what I got was a fresh storyline with gripping dialog from an ensemble of outstanding actors which amounted to a thoroughly engaging evening.
BWW Reviews: THE SUIT at Seattle Rep is Simply BeautifulBWW Reviews: THE SUIT at Seattle Rep is Simply Beautiful
March 21, 2014

I truly appreciate when a show realizes it doesn't need all the flash, all the bells and whistles, in order to be great. Sometimes a show has such a simple and straightforward story to tell that it just needs to tell it. Such is the case with "The Suit" currently playing at the Seattle Rep. This heartbreaking tale has such simple innate beauty that it needs only some chairs, a few musicians and a trio of gifted actors to convey the tragic allure of itself.
BWW Reviews: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at ACT Feels a Little AnemicBWW Reviews: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at ACT Feels a Little Anemic
March 16, 2014

It's one of my all time favorite shows so naturally I'm a little picky about it. I mean, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's "Little Shop of Horrors" is one of those near perfect musicals. Great story, great characters, super fun music, it's got it all. But just as the plant in the show feeds on blood, so does the show, metaphorically speaking of blood as being the grit, funk, soul and attitudes of 1960's doo-wop and B-horror movies. And while there's a ton of talent and great voices on the stage of the current joint production from ACT and The 5th Avenue Theatre, there's also a shocking lack of that "blood" from the production.
BWW Reviews: THE ELEPHANT MAN from STAGEright Spotlights All Kinds of Freak ShowsBWW Reviews: THE ELEPHANT MAN from STAGEright Spotlights All Kinds of Freak Shows
March 8, 2014

We all love to gawk at things different from what we call "normal". The internet is full of such things. Hell, one might even view our love of theater as such as it's a window into the lives of others. And that's the focus of Bernard Pomerance's stirring play, "The Elephant Man", as we view a freak show from all angles. And while STAGEright's production has some outstanding moments, at times it feels a little too ambitious for the company and the space.
BWW Reviews: THE LAST FIVE YEARS Gets a New Vision from LungFishBWW Reviews: THE LAST FIVE YEARS Gets a New Vision from LungFish
February 21, 2014

Before you start the lynch mob against LungFish Productions for altering Jason Robert Brown's "The Last Five Years" let me assure you that not one word of the original has been changed. It's the intent of the piece as how it's told that director and conceiver Kyle James Traver has reimagined and while I wasn't 100% sold on the new vision, it's still a beautiful piece from some incredible performers.
BWW Reviews: Book-It's FRANKENSTEIN Filled with Chilling Imagery and Befuddling ChoicesBWW Reviews: Book-It's FRANKENSTEIN Filled with Chilling Imagery and Befuddling Choices
February 16, 2014

Sure, it's a story about a monster, but a monster that is looking for love and acceptance and his creator who's looking for power and the redemption they both seek from their mistaken paths to find their goals. Mary Shelley's novel manages all that within a simple gothic romance and David Quicksall's adaptation manages a somewhat gripping stage representation of that tale. Unfortunately while much of the staging of "Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus", currently presented by Book-It Repertory Theatre, offers chilling moments, many other choices within the show detract so much as to pull you from the story and leave it muddled.
BWW Reviews: ON THE AIR at Teatro ZinZanni Is Three Hours of Pure JoyBWW Reviews: ON THE AIR at Teatro ZinZanni Is Three Hours of Pure Joy
February 14, 2014

Dear Readers, I must warn you against seeing the latest show over at Teatro ZinZanni, "On The Air". After viewing it last night my smile muscles are only now beginning to recover from the perma-grin that this show and its incredible cast stuck on my face. I've been fortunate enough to see a few ZinZanni shows and this was one of the best, if not THE best I have seen.
BWW Reviews: Seattle Rep's VENUS IN FUR - In a Word, DeliciousBWW Reviews: Seattle Rep's VENUS IN FUR - In a Word, Delicious
February 13, 2014

Get yourself ready for something naughty, witty and all around fun as the Seattle Rep has brought to town David Ives' battle of wills and words, Venus in Fur. This ribald evening from two powerhouse performers is rife with Ives' typical meaty dialog will keep you guessing as to who's really in charge.
BWW Reviews: MARISOL from Collision Project Feels Overly 'Edgy'BWW Reviews: MARISOL from Collision Project Feels Overly 'Edgy'
February 11, 2014

When my Mom goes to see shows of mine that are on the edgy or weirder side she inevitably comes back with the comment, "That was interesting" afterward. Translation: not my thing and a little too weird. I, on the other hand, like a little weird in my theater especially when it culminates into a good message or "aha!" moment at the end. But while I was on board through Act One with the message and imagery in "Marisol", the inaugural production from newly hatched theater company The Collision Project, Act Two led me into a melange of overdone messages and just became kind of "interesting" for me.
BWW Reviews: SPELLING BEE at SMT Embraces the Charming Flaws in Us AllBWW Reviews: SPELLING BEE at SMT Embraces the Charming Flaws in Us All
February 9, 2014

One of the things I love about William Finn's shows is that he draws such rich and flawed characters which makes them all the more real and relatable. This is extremely true in his most popular work, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee", currently playing at Seattle Musical Theatre, where the kids of the Bee, as well as the adults, work through their own idiosyncrasies. But the lovely thing about the show is that since the subjects are children, they don't deny their flaws but embrace them as a part of themselves and use them to their advantage. And the cast and crew of the SMT production recognize that and never poke fun of the characters but embrace and love them as well and that's what makes this show an absolute joy.
BWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's SPAMALOT - As Close to Broadway as You're Going to GetBWW Reviews: 5th Avenue's SPAMALOT - As Close to Broadway as You're Going to Get
February 7, 2014

If you know what I mean when I say things such as "Are you telling me cocoanuts migrate?!?" "She's got huge tracks of land!" and "Ni!" then you're my kind of nerd who understands the joy that is "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". And while musical theater nerds are aware, I was surprised to find out how many others didn't know that the genius of Holy Grail was giddily translated into the musical "Monty Python's Spamalot" which ran off with the Tony for best musical in 2005. And now the 5th Avenue Theatre presents an all local production of the smash hit and with the talent and design at their disposal, it's about as close to the Broadway show as you're going to get (without Jews, of course).
BWW Reviews: THE EQUATION from Theatre 9/12  Two Stories that Don't Quite Hold TogetherBWW Reviews: THE EQUATION from Theatre 9/12 Two Stories that Don't Quite Hold Together
January 27, 2014

A new work is always a risk even from author Charles Waxberg who gave us the amazing "A Shade of Green" a few years back. In this case from Theatre 9/12 we kind of have two works from Waxberg with his new play "The Equation". And while the performances in the piece were admirable, only one of the stories held together (for the most part) while the other left me completely confused.
BWW Reviews: THE FOREIGNER at Village Packs the Laughs with IntelligenceBWW Reviews: THE FOREIGNER at Village Packs the Laughs with Intelligence
January 24, 2014

It's a show that's done by pretty much everyone and their dog. Why? Because Larry Shue's "The Foreigner" is somewhat easy to put up (one set, manageable cast) and it's one of Shue's funnier and smarter pieces. So it's kind of a staple for smaller theaters. But while it is an easily doable show, it's not so easy to get it right. Much of it is spoken in a made up language (that has to make sense) and it's got a dark sharp edge to it that can kill the comedy. Luckily director Brian Yorkey understands that dark edge and his cast currently at Village Theatre completely get the humor of it amounting to a thoroughly solid and engaging production of an oft-produced gem.


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