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's HAIRSPRAY is a Triple Threat of a ShowBWW Review: Village?s HAIRSPRAY
Posted: May. 11, 2018


BWW Review: Paramount Presents LOVE NEVER DIES - Oh, Please Let ItBWW Review: Paramount Presents LOVE NEVER DIES
Posted: May. 9, 2018


BWW Review: Seattle Rep's FAMILIAR Reinvigorates the Wedding ComedyBWW Review: Seattle Rep?s FAMILIAR Reinvigorates the Wedding Comedy
Posted: May. 3, 2018


BWW Review: Reboot's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS Will Eat Your HeartBWW Review: Reboot?s LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS Will Eat Your Heart
Posted: May. 6, 2018


BWW Review: A Powerful GOAL! From ACT's THE WOLVESBWW Review: A Powerful GOAL! From ACT?s THE WOLVES
Posted: Apr. 27, 2018


BWW Review: Seattle Shakes' SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Lacks BothBWW Review: Seattle Shakes? SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Lacks Both
Posted: May. 5, 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: 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 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: 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.

BWW Review: Paramount Presents LOVE NEVER DIES - Oh, Please Let ItBWW Review: Paramount Presents LOVE NEVER DIES - Oh, Please Let It
May 9, 2018

I'll admit that I've never been what you would call a fan of 'Phantom of the Opera'. I appreciate it for what it is, and I find it tolerable with some interesting melodies but largely it's all flash and no substance. But now comes the (gulp) sequel to 'Phantom', 'Love Never Dies' currently playing at the Paramount, and this overblown pile of musical theater Ambien not only stretches out the story to a ridiculous effect but also by doing so exposes the original to what it really is, a desperate need for therapy and a restraining order.

BWW Review: Reboot's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS Will Eat Your HeartBWW Review: Reboot's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS Will Eat Your Heart
May 6, 2018

Dear Readers, we're about to enter the realm of my favorite show of all time, that of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's musical masterpiece "Little Shop of Horrors". I tell you this in advance so you'll understand the gravitas of my critique of anyone attempting this particular show and I've seen many. I've seen touring productions, local productions both large and small, and even one production set in an actual skid row. I even managed to see a certain Encores production with a certain movie star and the original Audrey (sigh). And now comes Reboot Theatre Company with their affinity for non-traditional casting/staging/etc. Add into that the fact that they're performing this at the Slate theater where the stage is about the size of the full-grown plant and this could be a recipe for disaster. And while I may have had a technical qualm or two, what I also saw was a company that understands the show and a production that has more heart in one tentacle than some productions have in their whole plant.

BWW Review: Seattle Shakes' SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Lacks BothBWW Review: Seattle Shakes' SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Lacks Both
May 5, 2018

During the curtain speech Seattle Shakespeare Company Artistic Director (and director of the night's show) George Mount and Managing Director John Bradshaw joked on how they don't often get to present a Washington premiere since they usually deal in 400-year-old plays. What they also don't usually contend with is the trend of turning every successful movie into a theatrical endeavor but here we are with the Seattle Shakespeare Company presenting the stage version of 'Shakespeare in Love' based on the 1998 film. Now don't get me wrong, not all stage adaptations are awful and this one seems to be almost directly lifted from the wonderful Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard screenplay by the adapter Lee Hall so the script isn't entirely the problem here. No, the problems I have are threefold and amount to two very egregious things for a show entitled 'Shakespeare in Love'. There's not enough 'Shakespeare' and not enough 'Love'. But let's start from the top.

BWW Review: PILGRIMS from Forward Flux Meanders with Little PayoffBWW Review: PILGRIMS from Forward Flux Meanders with Little Payoff
May 4, 2018

Claire Kiechel, author of "Pilgrims" currently being offered from Forward Flux Productions at West of Lenin, lists in her bio that she is a writer on Netflix's "The OA". So, a Sci Fi play complete with mystery and secrets should be a surprise to no one. However, unlike "The OA", Kiechel's play meanders about space with many superfluous scenes that come out of left field ultimately leading, in a disturbing way, to an ending that amounts to little more than a "huh, so that happened".

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's FAMILIAR Reinvigorates the Wedding ComedyBWW Review: Seattle Rep's FAMILIAR Reinvigorates the Wedding Comedy
May 3, 2018

The family dramedy of a wedding in chaos is no new idea in fact it's been done to death. That's not to say there aren't good ones but it's certainly a subject that's been thoroughly mined. Or so I thought. Danai Gurira's fantastic play "Familiar", currently playing at the Seattle Rep, takes this old trope and reinvigorates it by infusing it with the story of a family choosing whether they stick with tradition or find their own way. Add to that the fact that it's just a touching and hilarious piece and Gurira proves that the old wedding play trope still has a few tricks left in her.

BWW Review: WET's Creepy Techno-thriller THE NETHERBWW Review: WET's Creepy Techno-thriller THE NETHER
April 28, 2018

As the folks at Washington Ensemble Theatre point out over and over in the lobby and in the press info of their latest offering, Jennifer Haley's "The Nether", the show is filled with trigger warnings and not for the faint of heart. With strobe lights and elements of violence and sexual assault of children at the forefront of the story, some may not be able to handle the play. Even I, who usually scoffs at any kind of trigger warning with a haughty derision that reads, "I can handle whatever you want to throw at me", found myself squirming in my seat and had occasion to want to stand and yell, "oh, don't do that!" (I did not.) But if you can get past the ick-factor what you have is a well-crafted thriller with a futuristic bent that will keep you guessing.

BWW Review: A Powerful GOAL! From ACT's THE WOLVESBWW Review: A Powerful GOAL! From ACT's THE WOLVES
April 27, 2018

Slice of life plays can be difficult, at least I've always found them so. They tend toward story, upon story, upon story, with little through line or resolution as life goes on. Such could be the case with Sarah DeLappe's "The Wolves" currently at ACT were it not for the fact that it's chock full of crackling dialog and high-intensity performances. And so, any perceived drawbacks I may have from this slice of life play don't seem to matter.

BWW Review: Powerhouse Performances in Book-It's BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAOBWW Review: Powerhouse Performances in Book-It's BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO
April 22, 2018

Book-It Repertory Theatre has once again brought to life another gripping tale, this time with Junot Diaz's, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao", as adapted and directed by Elise Thoron. And as gripping as the tale is what makes it even more riveting are the powerhouse performances from the over 20 characters inhabiting the stage at the Center House Theatre throughout the evening creating the beautiful, funny, dangerous and heartbreaking world. Oh, and did I mention all of the over 20 characters are being played by one lone, amazing actor, Elvis Nolasco?

BWW Review: MAP's Dark Absurd Comedy YEAR OF THE ROOSTERBWW Review: MAP's Dark Absurd Comedy YEAR OF THE ROOSTER
April 15, 2018

On the surface Olivia Dufault's "Year of the Rooster" doesn't seem like a fun night out filled with laughs. A play about a failed trainer for cock fights. And to be honest it packs an ending that will not send you whistling into the street filled with hope for tomorrow. But this is MAP Theatre, and as their mission statement says, "We favor local work and comedy that hurts a bit" and this one does hurt. But at the same time, it's filled with stunning performances and more than a few laughs in this absurd yet all too grounded world director Peggy Gannon and the cast and crew have created over at 18th and Union.

BWW Review: 5th Avenue's KISS ME, KATE is a Love Letter to Those Who Came BeforeBWW Review: 5th Avenue's KISS ME, KATE is a Love Letter to Those Who Came Before
April 14, 2018

When you think the classic era of Broadway Musicals, many lean toward Rodgers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Loewe but for my money I always go right to Cole Porter. Maybe not as prolific when it comes to hit shows as the others but you can't dismiss the undeniable genius of "Anything Goes" and of course "Kiss Me, Kate" (my personal favorite), currently playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre. And the folks at the 5th have not only done right by this classic tuner by packing it to the brim with the best singers, dancers and comedians they could find but the production is a love letter to the predecessors of the production, most notably the visual style which is so reminiscent of the 1953 film version, making this far more than a killer show, but an homage.

Beloved Seattle Comedian and Actress, Peggy Platt Dies at 58 - Remembrance ScheduledBeloved Seattle Comedian and Actress, Peggy Platt Dies at 58 - Remembrance Scheduled
April 4, 2018

It is with a very heavy heart that I pass along the news that Peggy Platt, the beloved Seattle comedian and actress, passed away Monday night at the age of 58. Peggy, a staple of the Seattle entertainment community, was known for her brash humor and take no prisoners attitude.

BWW Interview: A Chat with Tipsy Rose Lee from the Upcoming Genderqueer Cast LITTLE SHOP from Reboot TheatreBWW Interview: A Chat with Tipsy Rose Lee from the Upcoming Genderqueer Cast LITTLE SHOP from Reboot Theatre
April 2, 2018

Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's "Little Shop of Horrors" is one of those enduring classics of American Musical Theatre thanks, in no small part, to its quirky, twisted take on the worldview. Well it's about to get a whole new view as Reboot Theatre Company is taking this Sci-Fi thriller of a musical about a man-eating plant and shaking it up even further by giving it a genderqueer cast (something their company loves to do). I recently sat down with their Audrey, Seattle renowned drag queen Tipsy Rose Lee, to talk about her career and her upcoming dalliance with that carnivorous plant.

BWW Review: SCT's NAKED MOLE RAT GETS DRESSED and Gets Rockin'BWW Review: SCT's NAKED MOLE RAT GETS DRESSED and Gets Rockin'
March 31, 2018

Don't let the fact that the title has the word "naked" in it or that the same word is repeated several times in the opening number fool you. This is, indeed, a children's show. Yes, you are still at Seattle Children's Theatre and it's safe to bring the kids in as we're only talking about cute little naked mole rats. Rockin' mole rats to be more precise who will sing their way right into your hearts with Seattle Children's Theatre's world premiere "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience".

BWW Review: Seattle Public's IRONBOUND Delivers Raw PowerBWW Review: Seattle Public's IRONBOUND Delivers Raw Power
March 30, 2018

Seattle Public Theater tends towards the darker, edgier plays. That's not to say they're adverse to a comedy now and then as is evident with their next offering, 'Hand to God' which I saw on Broadway and laughed my butt off all the way through but still a very dark comedy. But I digress. Typically, they lean toward stories with grit, pathos and anguish. Now I'll admit that their choices don't always hit with me but when they do they hit hard. Past shows like 'On Clover Road' or 'Grounded' still reverberate in my memory as shows that managed to grab me by the heart and soul and shake me around like a little rag doll. Such is the case with their current offering, 'Ironbound' by Martyna Majok.

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's World Premiere of THE GREAT LEAP Shoots and ScoresBWW Review: Seattle Rep's World Premiere of THE GREAT LEAP Shoots and Scores
March 29, 2018

If you're familiar with Lauren Yee, possibly from her previous premiere here in Seattle of 'The King of the Yees' last year, you know of her gift for storytelling and crisp dialog. So, when another Yee World Premiere, 'The Great Leap', was announced at the Seattle Rep I was excited. But, oh no! This one's about basketball and anyone that knows me knows that I'm illiterate to all things sportsball. So, I got my sportsball translator to come with me and thankfully didn't need to rely on her too much. She explained what a pick and roll was and what the hell a point guard did but other than that I was good as I was simply immersed in a lovely story of three men at different points in their life and from very different backgrounds each trying to find their own truth during a tumultuous time.

BWW Review: Showtunes' BOYS FROM SYRACUSE Confused About Twins but Not About FunBWW Review: Showtunes' BOYS FROM SYRACUSE Confused About Twins but Not About Fun
March 25, 2018

I was speaking with a friend the other day about the current show from Showtunes Theatre Company, "The Boys from Syracuse". He's a somewhat new, fledgling musical theater geek and I said, that it was filled with great Rodgers and Hart songs many of which are standards now. I went through a few and got nothing but blank stares. And that, Dear Readers, is why Showtunes is so important. We need someone to keep bringing us these underdone, and often times older shows such as "The Boys from Syracuse" so established geeks like me can sit there and well geek out, and for a place for newbies to come and be exposed to these grand old shows so they might actually learn what a "standard" is.

BWW Review: Problematic MERCHANT OF VENICE from Seattle ShakesBWW Review: Problematic MERCHANT OF VENICE from Seattle Shakes
March 24, 2018

Seattle Shakespeare Company has never been one to shy away from a challenge and with their current production of "The Merchant of Venice" they certainly seem to have a challenge on their hands. As I see it they have one challenge they can, and hopefully will overcome as the production continues, the pace of the show, and one challenge inherit to the piece that they can never defeat but only embrace, the overt antisemitism.

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
March 23, 2018

ACT and The 5th Avenue Theatre's current joint production, 'Ride the Cyclone', now playing at ACT, is one of those quirky little musicals that on the surface should not work. I didn't really know what to expect going in but based on what it is, it's problematic at best. Fortunately for us the brilliant writing team of Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond have done it in such a way that it definitely does work and then some. Allow me to explain.



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