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: Strawshop's PRELUDE TO A KISS a Last-Minute TriumphBWW Review: Strawshop's PRELUDE TO A KISS
Posted: Sep. 9, 2018


BWW Review: WAITRESS at Paramount is Charming, Heartfelt, and Funny all Mixed up and Baked in a Beautiful PieBWW Review: WAITRESS at Paramount
Posted: Sep. 12, 2018


BWW Review: Seattle Shakes and Upstart Crow Bring Down the House Again with RICHARD IIIBWW Review: Seattle Shakes and Upstart Crow's RICHARD III
Posted: Sep. 15, 2018


BWW Review: Good Fences Make Bad Neighbors in Intiman's NATIVE GARDENSBWW Review: Intiman?s NATIVE GARDENS
Posted: Sep. 8, 2018


BWW Review: Book-It's JANE EYRE Has Fire but Lacks PassionBWW Review: Book-It's JANE EYRE
Posted: Sep. 16, 2018


BWW Review: ACT's SKYLIGHT Provokes, Ends, and then Ends AgainBWW Review: ACT's SKYLIGHT
Posted: Sep. 14, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN Spotlights an American IconBWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN Spotlights an American Icon
Posted: Mar. 1, 2018


BWW Review: THE HUMANS at Seattle Rep is a Searing Slice of Life but in a Hurry to LeaveBWW Review: THE HUMANS at Seattle Rep is a Searing Slice of Life but in a Hurry to Leave
Posted: Nov. 30, 2017


BWW Review: Book-It Deliciously Paints the Original PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAYBWW Review: Book-It Paints THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
Posted: Jun. 10, 2018


BWW Review: Seattle Rep's World Premiere IBSEN IN CHICAGO Tickles While It CaptivatesBWW Review: Seattle Rep's World Premiere IBSEN IN CHICAGO Tickles While It Captivates
Posted: Feb. 8, 2018


BWW Review: The Infectious Bliss of Seattle Rep's PRIDE AND PREJUDICEBWW Review: The Infectious Bliss of Seattle Rep's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Posted: Oct. 5, 2017


BWW Review: ACT and 5th Ave's RIDE THE CYCLONE - A Haunting Thrill Ride You Must TakeBWW Review: ACT and 5th Ave?s RIDE THE CYCLONE - A Haunting Thrill Ride You Must Take
Posted: Mar. 23, 2018


BWW Review: Seattle Rep's World Premiere of THE GREAT LEAP Shoots and ScoresBWW Review: Seattle Rep?s World Premiere of THE GREAT LEAP
Posted: Mar. 29, 2018


BWW Review: Book-It's JANE EYRE Has Fire but Lacks PassionBWW Review: Book-It's JANE EYRE Has Fire but Lacks Passion
September 16, 2018

Well, Dear Readers, this is a first for me. It seems the first Mrs. Rochester got a little over excited and jumped the gun as we had a fire alarm about 20 minutes into opening night of Book-It's "Jane Eyre" and we all were treated to an early intermission and a breath of fresh air. Luckily it quickly resolved itself and we were let back in for the show to pick up where we left off, ironically with Jane discussing the fires of hell with Mr. Brocklehurst. And while Jane does get quite keyed up in that conversation and her subsequent one telling off Mrs. Reed, unfortunately that's about as passionate as our Jane got.

BWW Review: Seattle Shakes and Upstart Crow Bring Down the House Again with RICHARD IIIBWW Review: Seattle Shakes and Upstart Crow Bring Down the House Again with RICHARD III
September 15, 2018

Dear Readers, if you were lucky enough to catch Seattle Shakespeare Company and Upstart Crow's all female epic productions of the "Henry VI" Trilogy that they dubbed "Bring Down the House" and showed in two parts a few years back then you know of the power that they brought to the stage with some of the best female actors sinking their teeth into those traditionally male cast characters. And you also may have had the same wish that many others had, including myself, that they'd keep that train going especially once they'd seen the remarkable Sarah Harlett play the young hunchback Richard, Duke of Gloucester, with such malevolent zeal. Who wouldn't then want to see her go on to play him in the sequel, "Richard III"? Because we all love a sequel. Well, wish granted. The hunchback is back and scheming around the boards of the Leo K. Theatre at the Seattle Rep and is just as glorious as before.

BWW Review: ACT's SKYLIGHT Provokes, Ends, and then Ends AgainBWW Review: ACT's SKYLIGHT Provokes, Ends, and then Ends Again
September 14, 2018

David Hare's "Skylight", currently playing at ACT, is a play teaming with recriminations over infidelities and the struggles of class at the heart of the demise of two people's relationship. It's packed with wonderful moments for both actors to make equally compelling arguments over who's at fault. Who's right and who's wrong. Who's got the moral high ground and who's grounded in reality. To the point that by the end you can see the good and bad in each and walk away with something to think and talk about. And then Hare adds a second ending that I can only describe as the Hollywood RomCom ending to drive his own point home, a point we already got, in a way that is at best superfluous and at worst just plain confusing.

BWW Review: WAITRESS at Paramount is Charming, Heartfelt, and Funny all Mixed up and Baked in a Beautiful PieBWW Review: WAITRESS at Paramount is Charming, Heartfelt, and Funny all Mixed up and Baked in a Beautiful Pie
September 12, 2018

Known for her soulful sound in the pop music world, Sara Bareilles burst onto the musical theater scene out of the blue with her smash hit 'Waitress'. I'll admit some cynicism with this with the attitude of 'oh good, another pop star who thinks they can write Broadway.' The problem is, she can, and the show is just damn good.

BWW Review: Strawshop's PRELUDE TO A KISS a Last-Minute TriumphBWW Review: Strawshop's PRELUDE TO A KISS a Last-Minute Triumph
September 9, 2018

Any theater company has that fear of, after weeks of rehearsing one play, having to switch it out for another with little rehearsal time left before opening. Maybe the rights to the play get pulled or some other act of the theater Gods which is out of their control forces their hand. But what if a theater were to decide to do it to themselves? Such is the case with Strawberry Theatre Workshop and their current production of Craig Lucas' "Prelude to a Kiss" which took over for what was to be their production of Lucas' "Reckless". After already diving headlong into the show they discovered that one character in particular felt so dated and out of touch as to be offensive without any kind of touchstone in the show to point out the offense. But this is not a review of their decision, so we won't go into all that, this is a review of what they put up with the same cast and the same scheduled opening night after only 12 days of rehearsal.

BWW Review: Good Fences Make Bad Neighbors in Intiman's NATIVE GARDENSBWW Review: Good Fences Make Bad Neighbors in Intiman's NATIVE GARDENS
September 8, 2018

For as long as there have been living spaces people have had points of contention with their neighbors, whether it's the people upstairs, next door, or on the other side of the fence. Maybe they're too noisy, or they shoot off fireworks right outside your bedroom window on the fourth of July, or they like to stack up their garbage by their front door rather than taking it to the dumpster (you guessed it, I once had the neighbors from hell). But no matter the differences the hope is that people can work them out (or just let them seethe inside for years) without resorting to pesticides and chainsaws as the folks in Karen Zacarias' play "Native Gardens" did, currently being offered from Intiman Theatre.

BWW Spotlight: Village Theatre's 18th Annual Festival of New MusicalsBWW Spotlight: Village Theatre's 18th Annual Festival of New Musicals
August 21, 2018

Several years ago, I remember watching the Tony Awards and seeing Broadway power couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker presenting the award for Best Score and getting all giddy and nerdy over it because "NEW SONGS!" Well that's how I feel every summer at Village Theatre's Festival of New Musicals. I get to see what's out there up and coming and maybe get to walk away seeing a new gem. And this year was no exception with a couple of shows blowing me away. Now, of course, these are workshops and staged readings of shows, so we cannot really review them, but I can at least tell you what they offered us.

BWW Review: ACTLab and Pratidhwani's QUEEN Examines the Ethics of Bee ScienceBWW Review: ACTLab and Pratidhwani's QUEEN Examines the Ethics of Bee Science
August 10, 2018

I've never been a fan of bees, in fact they terrify me. So, I found it a little ironic that the day I'm supposed to go see a play about bees, Madhuri Shekar's 'Queen' from ACTLab and Pratidhwani, that one of the little bastards decides to up and sting me for no reason. Sure, they're important for our ecosystem and without them we would end up with severe food shortages, but they don't need to be such jerks about it. And that's the central conceit of Shekar's play (their place in the ecosystem, not them stinging me). And while the play was intriguing, at times the actors didn't all seem to be a part of the same play, at least not at the same time.

BWW Review: Theater Schmeater's Inconsistent and Chaotic SHE KILLS MONSTERSBWW Review: Theater Schmeater's Inconsistent and Chaotic SHE KILLS MONSTERS
July 29, 2018

Greetings adventurer, you and your party are approaching a multiheaded beast to which you must convey a story filled with drama, high stakes and dire consequences. You know in order to survive you need to present yourself in a certain way, so do you judiciously put forth just what you need in order to tell a focused and coherent tale thus placating/entertaining the beast or do you throw everything you've got at it and hope something appeases the monster? Well, if you're the folks at Theater Schmeater you do the latter as was evident with the forced, unfocused, and just plain loud production of "She Kills Monsters" currently playing.

BWW Review: ACT's LAUREN WEEDMAN DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE Cavorts with Little PointBWW Review: ACT's LAUREN WEEDMAN DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE Cavorts with Little Point
July 27, 2018

Dear Readers, if you know me you know of my disdain for shows that end up as someone else's therapy on stage. So, you'll understand how I was filled with hope when ACT's current offering of Lauren Weedman's one woman show "Lauren Weedman Doesn't Live Here Anymore" began with Weedman commenting on how she too hates it when people go into the dirty details of their personal life as well as some seriously funny moments from Weedman. You'll also understand how let down I felt when she quickly abandoned that pretense and devolved into a journey of self-discovery as she laid bare all of her sordid issues as well as abandoning the funny by bringing in an unfocused and manic character to share the journey making the 80-minute evening just feel loud, scattered, self-indulgent, and pointless.

BWW Review: Fairy Tale Princesses Get Real in DISENCHANTED from MamchesBWW Review: Fairy Tale Princesses Get Real in DISENCHANTED from Mamches
July 21, 2018

A few years back, Dear Readers, I stumbled on an article about a new little show called 'Disenchanted', about Fairy Tale Princesses in a musical revue telling about how life ain't so happily ever after and since I always love a good dose of snark I instantly became obsessed. I followed its journey, hoping it might come to a city near me or at least one I was visiting and even corresponded with the creators, book writer, composer and lyricist Dennis T Giancino and director Fiely A Matias who were kind enough to get me some sample recordings which only deepened my obsession (and put Siri in a tizzy as she has to censor herself when attempting to repeat back to me the original title). Well now, by the grace of the theater Gods and the good folks at Mamches Productions, that wonderful revue has come to Seattle and with the original creators in tow with Giancino directing this time and Matias assisting. And while the gloriousness of those scathing songs is there, the show itself needs a bit more settling time and some technical help to be truly great.

BWW Review: Political Machinations from Theatre9/12's THE LEAGUE OF YOUTHBWW Review: Political Machinations from Theatre9/12's THE LEAGUE OF YOUTH
July 14, 2018

A young idealist comes to town with an aim to take down the rich fat cats who have rigged the government to only work in their favor only to be swayed by the trappings of their wealth and power. Sounds like something from our government today but no, I'm referring to Henrik Ibsen's play, as adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, "The League of Youth", currently being offered from Theatre9/12, examining the goings on in a small town in Norway, 1869. I guess political corruption has been around as long as there has been politics.

BWW Review: THE COLOR PURPLE Revival at Paramount Fixes the Mediocre OriginalBWW Review: THE COLOR PURPLE Revival at Paramount Fixes the Mediocre Original
June 28, 2018

Back in 2005 Broadway was abuzz with the arrival of a musical version of the much beloved book and movie "The Color Purple". The problem was, when it arrived it landed with a thud and not a splash. It had a decent showing running for three years and touring but never really catching fire (at least not for me). I saw the original on Broadway and in the tour and it just felt like they missed the mark not really focusing on the heart of the story and with music that felt out of place. Then in 2013 the folks at The Menier Chocolate Factory in London revived the show, scaling it down to a more intimate and streamlined piece and low and behold, it now works! And that, Dear Readers, is the gloriousness that's currently playing at the Paramount.

BWW Review: PAGEANT at ACT - a Hilarious Ride from Beginning to ... Well AlmostBWW Review: PAGEANT at ACT - a Hilarious Ride from Beginning to ... Well Almost
June 16, 2018

Dear Readers, I recently commented on a show at ACT on how it was the veggies to your theatrical diet. A show that may be hard to swallow but it's good for you. Well if that show is your veggies then another show currently at ACT is your dessert. "Pageant: The Musical", currently being offered from A Sensible Theatre Co., is a frothy, glitzy good time filled with oodles of gorgeous "real women with a little something extra". And while I certainly had a blast and laughed my butt off throughout, there was one moment that stuck with me and made me say, "huh?" But we'll get to that in a bit.

BWW Review: ACT's UNTIL THE FLOOD Examines a Society After FergusonBWW Review: ACT's UNTIL THE FLOOD Examines a Society After Ferguson
June 15, 2018

We all remember hearing of the tragedy of August 9th, 2014 when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri was shot in killed by police officer Darren Wilson in his attempt to apprehend Brown after a convenience store robbery. It may have been on the other side of the country from us but the racial unrest that followed surrounding the shooting is something that was felt everywhere. But this polarizing issue is a hard one to unpack and discuss especially without the context of being there. Enter Dael Orlandersmith and her one woman show, 'Until the Flood' currently playing at ACT, with its unique and quite complete viewpoint to give us all a new perspective.

BWW Review: Book-It Deliciously Paints the Original PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAYBWW Review: Book-It Deliciously Paints the Original PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
June 10, 2018

If you think you know Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' you may want to think again. In fact, many only know the most basic plot based on its many references in popular culture throughout the years. But whether you're a novice or a die-hard Dorian Gray aficionado, you're in for a treat from Book-It as they've based their adaptation on the only recently published original manuscript that was deemed too racy for Victorian England. But it's here now complete with all its taboo subjects the way Wilde intended and Book-It's production is, in a word, delicious.

BWW Review: 5th Ave's HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME Grows Up and Gets DarkBWW Review: 5th Ave's HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME Grows Up and Gets Dark
June 9, 2018

Let me start, Dear Readers, by saying this is NOT the frothy Disney cartoon you may recall from your youth. Yes, it does contain many of the Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz songs from the 1996 Disney animated film but this show is more akin to the Victor Hugo novel than the cartoon. Gone are the silly, wise-cracking gargoyles whom you might find recreated in a Happy Meal, and amped up is the story of religious persecution, intolerance, sex, and betrayal. Leading me to wonder, what audience are they aiming for? Disney songs, filled out with heady albeit soaringly beautiful choral pieces, and a dark and gritty story that (spoiler alert) does not end well for everyone. And this is my biggest problem with the show, it can't make up its mind as to what it wants to be.

BWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE SurprisesBWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE Surprises
June 8, 2018

One thing I've found with Paula Vogel's plays is that they never cease to surprise. You may think you know what you're in for but then she pulls back layer upon layer giving you so much more than you bargained for. This is certainly true with her Pulitzer Prize winning play "How I Learned to Drive", currently being offered from Strawberry Theatre Workshop at 12th Avenue Arts as you're given a truly horrifying subject and left unsure how to feel about those perpetrating it.

BWW Review: SPT's HAND TO GOD is a Devilish Good TimeBWW Review: SPT's HAND TO GOD is a Devilish Good Time
May 12, 2018

Dear Readers, a few years back on one of my trips to the Mothership, I managed to catch Robert Askins' hilarious play "Hand to God" on Broadway and as soon as I finished wetting myself from laughter I thought, "Someone in Seattle needs to do this so my Dear Readers can wet themselves as well." Well last night I watched the entire house at Seattle Public Theater collectively wetting themselves over this hysterical show and so my wish has come true. My wish for all of you.

BWW Review: Village's HAIRSPRAY is a Triple Threat of a ShowBWW Review: Village's HAIRSPRAY is a Triple Threat of a Show
May 11, 2018

Once again, Dear Readers, we've ventured into the realm of one of my favorites. We recently had my all-time number one in town, but I'd have to say Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's "Hairspray", is certainly in the top five with its infectious and rousing score and incredible book from Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan. I've seen countless productions including the original cast and even had the honor of being in the show. And now Village Theatre has thrown their wig in the ring with their own production and I have to say in some ways it surpasses all those others. With its Beat, Power, and Humor it's a true show triple threat.



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