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. .  You can also check me out in my web series "The Gamers: The Shadow Menace" available on Amazon Prime.


BWW Review: You Should Know Seattle Rep's INDECENTBWW Review: Seattle Rep's INDECENT
Posted: Sep. 26, 2019

BWW Review: Seattle Children's Theatre's BLACK BEAUTY Lacks an ArcBWW Review: Seattle Children's Theatre's BLACK BEAUTY
Posted: Sep. 28, 2019

Posted: Oct. 7, 2019

BWW Review: YEN at ACT Grabs You and Doesn't Let GoBWW Review: YEN at ACT
Posted: Sep. 22, 2019

BWW Review: BON APPETIT! Serves up the Charm and Cake of Julia ChildBWW Review: BON APPETIT! Serves up the Charm and Cake of Julia Child
Posted: Oct. 8, 2019

BWW Review: CLUB SANDWICH with The Flying Karamazov Brothers is a Delightful Hot MessBWW Review: CLUB SANDWICH with The Flying Karamazov Brothers
Posted: Sep. 20, 2019

BWW Review: Lovers Reunite in Strawberry Theatre Workshop's THE PAVILIONBWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's THE PAVILION
Posted: Oct. 15, 2019


BWW Review: You Should Know Seattle Rep's INDECENTBWW Review: Seattle Rep's INDECENT
Posted: Sep. 26, 2019

BWW Review: Ahrens and Flaherty's Stunning MARIE, DANCING STILL at the 5th Avenue TheatreBWW Review: MARIE, DANCING STILL at the 5th Avenue Theatre
Posted: Apr. 6, 2019

BWW Review: THE WOMAN IN BLACK at the Seattle Rep Will Send a Chill Up Your SpineBWW Review: THE WOMAN IN BLACK at the Seattle Rep
Posted: Feb. 28, 2019

BWW Review: A VERY DIE HARD CHRISTMAS at Seattle Public Theater - Come Out to the Bathhouse, Have a Few LaughsBWW Review: A VERY DIE HARD CHRISTMAS at Seattle Public Theater
Posted: Dec. 2, 2018

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's Stunning NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMENBWW Review: Seattle Rep's NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN
Posted: May. 2, 2019

BWW Review: Leapin' Lizards, The 5th Ave's ANNIE is a Heartfelt Joyride!BWW Review: The 5th Ave's ANNIE
Posted: Dec. 1, 2018

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's THE GREAT MOMENT is a Moment but Not So Great
October 17, 2019

If you're going to put up an autobiographical play, then you need at least one of two things. You either need a life, or a moment in your life, in which something extraordinary happened, or you need to have moments that amount to a message or meaning that is not widely known by your audience. The Seattle Rep's world premiere of Anna Ziegler's a?oeThe Great Momenta?? has neither of these things. Instead, it amounts to one of my theatrical pet peeves, someone else's therapy on stage.

BWW Review: Lovers Reunite in Strawberry Theatre Workshop's THE PAVILION
October 15, 2019

On the surface, Craig Wright's a?oeThe Paviliona??, currently being offered from Strawberry Theatre Workshop, doesn't have all that much going for it. It's not a particularly enticing or thought provoking subject, a couple reconnecting at a reunion. But what it does have going for it is a cast of three performers, throwing their considerable talents into the roles, and that's what engages about this show more than anything.

BWW Review: BON APPETIT! Serves up the Charm and Cake of Julia Child
October 8, 2019

There are so many wonderful things going on in a?oeBon Appetit! The Julia Child Operettaa??, the show about one of the world's most recognizable cooking personalities, Julia Child, that it's unbelievable it all happens in under an hour. But then Julia always did make magic happen in such a short time herself.

BWW Review: Terrifying and Titillating ZOMBIE CHEERLEADERS FROM HELL at Can Can
October 7, 2019

As we enter the Halloween season, we'll be seeing more and more theater with a spooky or creepy vibe. So, it makes sense that the Can Can would bring back their spooktacular a?oeZombie Cheerleaders from Hella??. The problem is, these zombies are not so terrifying as they are hilarious and titillating. Lucky us! Maybe they should combine the terms to describe their show. a?oeTitifyinga??!

BWW Review: Seattle Children's Theatre's BLACK BEAUTY Lacks an Arc
September 28, 2019

When putting up a show for Children's Theatre, one of the main things you need to concern yourself with is how are the adults doing watching your show. The kids may be having a great time but if there's nothing for the adults who brought the kids to latch onto, then they might not bring the kids back next time. Seattle Children's Theatre usually has that covered with some wonderful performances and artistry. And while their current production of a?oeBlack Beautya?? certainly looked great with some fantastic puppets from Annett Mateo, the story lacked much of an arc and, at least for this adult, failed to thrill.

BWW Review: You Should Know Seattle Rep's INDECENT
September 26, 2019

When the Seattle Rep announced their season and I saw they were taking on Paula Vogel's incredible play a?oeIndecenta?? I was thrilled. But even more so I was surprised as to how many of my friends hadn't heard of it. I mean, it was nominated for a Tony, and even had the entire thing shown on PBS at one point. But still it was only the major theater geeks that had this one on their radar. Well, now that it's here I'm pleased to state that the Rep's production completely met and exceeded my expectations and now I can share my thoughts on this stunning play with you, Dear Readers, and explain why you need to catch it.

BWW Review: YEN at ACT Grabs You and Doesn't Let Go
September 22, 2019

Dear Readers, a few years back I was fortunate enough to see a production made possible by ACT and the Kenan Fellowship in Directing, a?oeGuards at the Taja??. A show that still sticks with me to this day. And I say a?oefortunate enougha?? as it was only on stage at ACT for a few performances. Now ACT has brought us the latest recipient of the Kenan Fellowship, Rey Zane, and her production of Anna Jordan's a?oeYena?? and I can tell that this brutal and gripping play will also be one to stick with me thanks to some stunning direction and performances.

BWW Review: Café Nordo's VIOLET'S ATTIC Creepy Fun but a Bit Undercooked
September 22, 2019

A really good Café Nordo show needs more than a good premise and good food. It needs a good script that really tells the story, complimenting the food, and a good pace. Their current incarnation, a?oeViolet's Attica??, has a wonderfully creepy premise which leads us into a fabulously whimsical meal. But the script and pace, while having some fantastic moments, suffer from too many long, drawn out sequences with little payoff.

BWW Review: CLUB SANDWICH with The Flying Karamazov Brothers is a Delightful Hot Mess
September 20, 2019

Really bad puns, noir-ish intrigue and juggling; what more do you need for an evening's entertainment? Well you're in luck, as the Northwest's celebrated comedy juggling troupe, The Flying Karamazov Brothers is back reviving their noir thriller a?oeClub Sandwicha?? at the Broadway Performance Hall. And while at times it may seem like they don't have a clue what's going on, trust me, these gifted performers and improvisors know exactly what to do, even when it all goes wrong.

BWW Review: The Beauty Is LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA from Showtunes
September 16, 2019

Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel's soaring romantic and tragic musical a?oeLight in the Piazzaa?? is not often tackled a?? thank the theater Gods. I'm not saying it's bad by any stretch of the imagination, it's just that I'd hate to see every small company, without the resources to handle it well, take it on. Fortunately, they've built in a few traps that may dissuade. First off, it's not your typical, rollicking musical with songs you'll be singing after. Second, there's all that Italian that your cast needs to learn and deliver authentically. And finally, it's some tough music. It needs to be done by insanely talented professionals who can handle these beautiful melodies that fly up into the rafters (often in Italian) as well as the heartfelt story. Enter Showtunes Theatre as they begin their 20th season, who routinely gather together the cream of the crop of Seattle artists for just a few weekends, books in hand, and you'll find yourself gifted with the mind-blowingly gorgeous evening that is their current production of a?oeLight in the Piazzaa??.

BWW Review: Village's SPELLING BEE is a M-U-S-T S-E-E!
September 14, 2019

Dear Readers, let's set the way-back machine to May of 2005 when a musical theater geek got to take his first trip to New York and see his first Broadway shows on Broadway. He sat there in Circle in the Square and marveled at a new William Finn show called a?oeThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Beea??. Now this was during its previews so not a lot of buzz on it yet, which made it even more special, as he got to experience its greatness as it unfolded. He laughed, he cried, he fell in love with this silly little show. Obviously that geek was me. Since then I've seen numerous productions here and abroad. The show is a staple of musical theaters as it's inevitably a winner. I wouldn't say it's bulletproof but it's bullet-resistant. As long as you have a decent cast that can have fun playing kids, you're good. But few have taken me back to that original moment and evoked the tears at the end or from one particular song a?? until now.

BWW Review: ACT's PEOPLE OF THE BOOK is Filled with Delicious Surprises
September 13, 2019

If you're an aficionado of theater here in Seattle, then you've probably heard of Yussef El Guindi or at least seen one of his plays. An ACT 2018 core member, this prolific writer has had numerous plays around Seattle and beyond. And when reading the synopsis of his current piece making its World Premiere at ACT, a?oePeople of the Booka??, you may think you know what to expect and what hot button topics he'll hit upon. And he does. But he also manages some literary acrobatics bringing in surprise after surprise making this a deliciously complicated show with an ending that may leave you with more questions than when you came in.

Photo Flash: Public Works' AS YOU LIKE IT at the Seattle Rep
September 12, 2019

Equity. Joy. Imagination. These were the words conveyed to us by Angie Kamel, the Director of Public Works at the Seattle Rep, before the opening performance of Public Works' production of “As You Like It”. And as with their inaugural production of “The Odyssey” back in 2017, those words say it all. Bringing together people from all walks of life across Seattle, professionals and non-professionals alike, to tell a story in such a positive way brings joy and imagination to life in the most equitable way possible.

BWW Review: The Kochs Bring Down the Triple Door with THE CARPETERS
September 10, 2019

Washington DC may have the Koch brothers, but we have a Koch brother and sister, specifically David and Lisa Koch. Two of the funniest humans out there, they've brought their delicious satire to Seattle and abroad for years. In fact, 20 years ago their 70's pop duo parody a?oeThe Carpetersa?? were all the rage at Cabaret de Paris. Well, they've reunited that delightful original cast, and brought in some new friends, to make The Carpeters live once again in a concert of their original show, a?oeThe Carpeters: Uncomfortably Close to Youa??. And with the insane laughter and applause, the roof of the Triple Door may never be the same.

BWW Review: Washington Ensemble Theatre's IS GOD IS Gives the Bloody Brutal Without the Context
September 8, 2019

Context is Key. Without context, your message can be completely lost. Such has happened with Washington Ensemble Theatre and their season opener, Aleshea Harris' a?oeIs God Isa??. If you look up information on the show or even read the promotional material put out by the theater, the show a?oeInspired by Spaghetti Westerns and Afro-punk, this electrifying play follows twin sisters who go on a killing spree to exact revenge on their creatora?? bringing up notions of allegory and some comedic undertones. In fact, from what I could find about the original production, that's where they aimed. But here they've missed the mark on the context and are left with a story of violence and revenge leaving me, after the show, to ask a?oewhya??.

BWW Review: BULRUSHER from Intiman Fails to Engage
August 24, 2019

Eighty percent of having a successful show is casting. If you have the right cast, even the dullest show can shine. However, that means the opposite is also true. You can have a good play, such as Eisa Davis' a?oeBulrushera??, currently being offered from Intiman Theatre, but if the cast isn't there, then neither is the decent storytelling. In the case of Intiman's show, the cast is mostly there, but one glaring weak link sapped the energy and emotion from a piece that should be filled with energy and emotion.

BWW Review: The William's Project's TIME OF YOUR LIFE Goes a Step Beyond
August 18, 2019

Dear Readers, you've often heard me extoll the prowess and brilliance of The Williams Project. Just last week I raved about how dedicated and tight their ensemble was when presenting the other show they have running in repertory, a?oeSmall Craft Warningsa??. But now that insanely talented ensemble has come in with William Saroyan's 1939 Pulitzer Prize winning drama a?oeThe Time of Your Lifea?? and taken things a step beyond simply performing the play, but deconstructing it with a rotating ensemble.

BWW Review: Seattle Public's INDY JONES Spotlights the Raiders of a Lost Art
August 16, 2019

Dear Readers, remember way back in December when the crazy minds of The Habit showed up at Seattle Public Theater with one of the most hysterical parodies ever, a?oeA Very Die Hard Xmasa??? Well I'm thrilled to tell you that they're back, this time tackling the a?oeRaiders of the Lost Arka?? movies (minus a?oeCrystal Skulla?? since that one was an abomination) and showing off how amazing they are at the lost art of satire with the brilliant a?oeIndy Jones and the Raiders of the Last Temple of the Doomed Arka??.

BWW Spotlight: Village Theatre's 19th Annual Festival of New Musicals
August 14, 2019

It's that time of year again. One of my favorite times of year. That time when I get to spend the weekend at Village Theatre checking out the shows brought together by the folks at Village, spotlighting new works around the country. Some amazing, some needing work, but all showing promise. Now, of course, I can't review any of these. They're all still works in progress and not fully staged. But I can share what went on over the weekend as a potential coming attraction of musicals to come to a theater near you.

BWW Review: Williams Project's SMALL CRAFT WARNINGS Doesn't Shy Away from Those Deep Cuts
August 9, 2019

The Williams Project, that small theater company that burst onto the Seattle theater scene in 2014 with their incredible a?oeOrpheus Descendinga?? is back with the first of two shows within their a?oeBar Playsa?? series. This time it's Tennessee Williams' a?oeSmall Craft Warningsa?? and with this, they once again show what a dedicated company, committed to actually paying their actors, can do with an interesting space, a little money, and a lot of talent.