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: Seattle Rep Examines Raw America with Mike Daisey's A PEOPLE'S HISTORYBWW Review: A PEOPLE'S HISTORY at Seattle Rep
Posted: Oct. 25, 2018


BWW Review: Paramount Gets You ON YOUR FEET! with Gloria and Emilio EstefanBWW Review: Paramount Gets You ON YOUR FEET!
Posted: Oct. 24, 2018


BWW Review: ACT Negotiates a Stunningly Solid Piece with OSLOBWW Review: ACT Negotiates a Stunningly Solid Piece with OSLO
Posted: Oct. 19, 2018


BWW Review: The Williams Project's A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY - When Will We Learn?BWW Review: The Williams Project's A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY
Posted: Oct. 29, 2018


BWW Review: Seattle Children's Theatre Amps Up the Awww Factor with THE VELVETEEN RABBITBWW Review: Seattle Children's Theatre THE VELVETEEN RABBIT
Posted: Nov. 3, 2018


BWW Review: Lesser Known Players' CASA VALENTINA Feels Tentative at BestBWW Review: Lesser Known Players' CASA VALENTINA
Posted: Oct. 21, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS Shimmers with Tragic BeautyBWW Review: Seattle Rep's A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
Posted: Oct. 11, 2018


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: 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: Village's MATILDA Big on Talent and Charm but Short on Magic and FlowBWW Review: Village's MATILDA Big on Talent and Charm but Short on Magic and Flow
November 9, 2018

A few years ago, Dear Readers, Seattle audiences were treated to the tour of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin's lovely musical version of Roald Dahl's "Matilda". A clever little tuner that managed to go beyond simply adding songs to a beloved book and find the heart of the story. Unfortunately, the complaint I heard most often back then from people who saw it was that they couldn't understand the lyrics owing to a bad sound mix in the theater and a bevy of child actors putting on quite thick British accents. So, if you didn't know the lyrics then maybe you didn't get to know them. Well, Village Theatre has picked up this tale of these revolting children (not a judgment of the kids, it's one of the songs) and while the lyrics are much clearer in the more intimate setting and the talent from the kids and adults alike is top notch (with some excellent diction) the show at times feels like it's striving to find it's rhythm and barely finds its magic.

BWW Review: Seattle Children's Theatre Amps Up the Awww Factor with THE VELVETEEN RABBITBWW Review: Seattle Children's Theatre Amps Up the Awww Factor with THE VELVETEEN RABBIT
November 3, 2018

We all have those special toys that became real to us as children. I still have my old teddy bear (who's older than I am) who sits in a place of honor in my living room. This is probably why Margery Williams' classic story "The Velveteen Rabbit" resonated with so many of us. I know it did for me. And now Seattle Children's Theatre in association with Unicorn Theatre (UK) have brought us Williams' beautiful tale for the stage and the magic and wonder and Awww factor of it all couldn't be greater.

BWW Review: The Williams Project's A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY - When Will We Learn?BWW Review: The Williams Project's A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY - When Will We Learn?
October 29, 2018

Dear Readers, today I want to talk to you about one of the most exciting companies in town and their latest show, The Williams Project's 'A Bright Room Called Day' by Tony Kushner. Specifically, I want to focus on three aspects of why they and their current show are so exciting and by the end I expect one if not all three aspects will entice you to catch this one, or at least I hope so.

BWW Review: Seattle Rep Examines Raw America with Mike Daisey's A PEOPLE'S HISTORYBWW Review: Seattle Rep Examines Raw America with Mike Daisey's A PEOPLE'S HISTORY
October 25, 2018

Welcome class, I'm going to need you to put your phones away and open your minds to learn about the history of our country. No, I mean REALLY open your minds to learn about the REAL history of our country and then some. It won't be an easy night for some but what Mike Daisey puts forth with his "A People's History" is certainly an eye-opening journey into the deep, dark crevasses of our sordid past as a nation.

BWW Review: Paramount Gets You ON YOUR FEET! with Gloria and Emilio EstefanBWW Review: Paramount Gets You ON YOUR FEET! with Gloria and Emilio Estefan
October 24, 2018

Who hasn't danced around their home to the fabulous tunes of Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine knowing that the 'Rhythm is Gonna Get You'? I know I have. (Don't judge.) And really if you too have any kind of affinity for their hot Latin rhythms then their bio-musical 'On Your Feet!', currently playing at the Paramount, will be for you. Maybe not the most engaging story, but oh those hips.

BWW Review: Can Can's THIS IS HALLOWEEN Gives a Bawdy Take on a Beloved Spooky ClassicBWW Review: Can Can's THIS IS HALLOWEEN Gives a Bawdy Take on a Beloved Spooky Classic
October 22, 2018

I know I could get lynched for stating this out loud, but I was never that much of a fan of the original film "The Nightmare Before Christmas". I appreciate the cute story and the animation but being a musical theater snob, the songs in it just don't do it for me. But now, after seeing Can Can's burlesque reimagining of this much beloved film, "This is Halloween" now in its ninth year, I realize what it's been missing all this time. Naked people.

BWW Review: Lesser Known Players' CASA VALENTINA Feels Tentative at BestBWW Review: Lesser Known Players' CASA VALENTINA Feels Tentative at Best
October 21, 2018

One of our best living playwrights, in my opinion, is Mr. Harvey Fierstein. With his rich, vibrant characters and crackling dialog, he never ceases to surprise with his works and his raw honest approach to storytelling. Well back in 2014 he came out with a new piece, "Casa Valentina", and I was lucky enough to catch it on Broadway and it was just as amazing as one might expect. Now in 2018, Lesser Known Players has come along with the Seattle Premiere of this amazing work, however their production does not do justice to this fantastic piece as, with some few exceptions, they lacked the commitment and intent to pull it off.

BWW Review: ACT Negotiates a Stunningly Solid Piece with OSLOBWW Review: ACT Negotiates a Stunningly Solid Piece with OSLO
October 19, 2018

In 1993 a few Norwegian politicians managed the impossible, to get the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate a peace. What sounds even more impossible is that they all kept it secret. Now this may not sound like the riveting topic for a three-hour play but what J.T. Rogers' 'Oslo', currently playing at ACT, does it to go beyond the facts of the accords and examines the humanity that made the accords possible and that kind of conflict makes for a tense and often times funny piece presented with a stunning ensemble from ACT.

BWW Review: PFP and REBATEnsemble's NIGHT PARADE Lacks Focus or IntentBWW Review: PFP and REBATEnsemble's NIGHT PARADE Lacks Focus or Intent
October 18, 2018

Dear Readers, if you've been reading my reviews for a while then you may know of my disdain for performance art. Whether it's naked women being birthed from goo-sacks on stage, random men from the audience beating an actress with pillows, or actors on a seesaw reciting Becket I think it's largely pretentious and wish they would just tell the story already. And yes, I've been subjected to all those things. Luckily Pork Filled Players and REBATEnsemble's Halloween offering "Night Parade" is not completely performance art. Oh, there are some elements in there but that's not all it is. Unfortunately, that also means that the show has a hell of an identity problem as it really doesn't know what it wants to be as it meanders back and forth from performance art to fable to comedy to art lecture to God knows what.

BWW Review: SMT's LEGALLY BLONDE Could Be 'So Much Better'BWW Review: SMT's LEGALLY BLONDE Could Be 'So Much Better'
October 15, 2018

Recently (and I do mean recently) another company in town did a concert staging of "Legally Blonde" utilizing actors of color in roles that they might not normally be cast including an African American "Elle". So, I questioned the logic when I heard that Seattle Musical Theater was doing the same thing right on its heels. Sure, the other one was just a concert (although so well done that it felt like a full staging) and only for four performances so maybe they just want to capitalize on that momentum with a full staging with sets and costumes and everything. Unfortunately, the Seattle Musical Theatre production of "Legally Blonde" feels so misdirected, half-assed and underdone that the only similarities are the diversity in the casting and the name.

BWW Review: COME FROM AWAY Nat'l Tour at 5th Ave Still One of the Best Shows I've Seen ... Ever!BWW Review: COME FROM AWAY Nat'l Tour at 5th Ave Still One of the Best Shows I've Seen ... Ever!
October 15, 2018

Dear Readers, as many of you know, back in November of 2015 Seattle was blessed with being one of the first cities to see 'Come From Away' before it ventured on to be the hit it still is on Broadway. And if you recall my review you'll remember how I implored you to drop everything you were doing, including reading the review, and go get your tickets to catch this amazing show. And I'm sure many of my friends will attest to the constant nagging from me of 'have you gotten your 'Come From Away' tickets yet' so they wouldn't miss the show and the ones who succumbed still thank me to this day for said nagging. Well, Dear Readers, the first National Tour of 'Come From Away' has started and it's once again blessed our city to start in, this time at the 5th Avenue Theatre, and once again I must implore you to stop reading this immediately and go get tickets to this groundbreaking, heartfelt, stunner of a show (and then of course come back and read the rest of this) and my friends are all in for another round of nagging.

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS Shimmers with Tragic BeautyBWW Review: Seattle Rep's A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS Shimmers with Tragic Beauty
October 11, 2018

Dear Readers, in the past you may have heard me refer to what I call "theatrical alchemy". It's where all the right elements seem to magically come together in just the right ways to form pure theatrical gold. Well, the Seattle Rep currently has a bunch of alchemists working with them with their joint production with the American Conservatory Theater and their presentation of "A Thousand Splendid Suns", a riveting tale filled with so much tragic beauty that you'll be left breathless.

BWW Review: Fantastic.Z's SEVEN HOMELESS MAMMOTHS WANDER NEW ENGLAND Wanders a Bit Too MuchBWW Review: Fantastic.Z's SEVEN HOMELESS MAMMOTHS WANDER NEW ENGLAND Wanders a Bit Too Much
September 29, 2018

When any playwright sits down to their notepad/typewriter/computer I would hope they have pinned to their workspace a note which, in very large, bold letters reads, "Is this germane to the story I'm trying to tell or is it only interesting/funny to me?" Without that question we get plays like "Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England" currently being offered from Fantastic.Z. There's a little gem of a play in there buried deep amongst the superfluous detritus surrounding it.

BWW Review: Café Nordo's Spell Goes a Bit Awry in THE WITCHING HOUR
September 28, 2018

I'm certainly a fan of the creepy and the crawly and the things that go bump in the night which is one reason Halloween is my favorite holiday. So, a spooky Cafe Nordo show entitled "The Witching Hour" should be right up my alley. And while it is and there's still all the delicious food and fabulous music and fun one would expect from a Nordo show, the story felt a little tentative and unsure of itself and where it needed to go.

BWW Review: Forward Flux and Pratidhwani's A SMALL HISTORY OF AMAL, AGE 7 Sweet but Doesn't ConnectBWW Review: Forward Flux and Pratidhwani's A SMALL HISTORY OF AMAL, AGE 7 Sweet but Doesn't Connect
September 25, 2018

Dear Readers, I know you've heard me talk before about taking the air out of a scene or earning your pauses or pauses you could drive a truck through. Well the latest offering from Forward Flux and Pratidhwani, Lindsay Joelle's "A Small History of Amal, Age 7", while being a sweet and sometimes touching story, suffers from a typhoon of air and a convoy of trucks driving through making the show feel forced and lacking connection.

BWW Review:  Showtunes Gives Us the LEGALLY BLONDE We Didn't Know We NeededBWW Review: Showtunes Gives Us the LEGALLY BLONDE We Didn't Know We Needed
September 23, 2018

Showtunes is doing "Legally Blonde"? Don't they do obscure musicals that never get done? Yes, that's them, Dear Readers. Putting up for a few weekends, concert stagings with books in hand shows that usually don't see the spotlight. And now here they come with "Legally Blonde" that mega-hit. So why? Because they focus on rare voices and that could mean titles of shows or that could mean casting someone in a role for which they may never be considered. Enter an off-hand remark made at one of the 5th Avenue Theatre spotlight nights when Alexandria Henderson said she didn't have a dream role, just to be able to be cast without limitation and another actor on-stage shouted that she should be Elle in "Legally Blonde" and the crowd went wild. So, an African American Elle with the titular blonde locks. Why not? And that Dear Readers, is the last time we need focus on the fact that Ms. Henderson isn't your traditional Elle. For the rest of this article we'll only focus on the fact that she killed it!

BWW Review: WET's EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH a Raw Blistering Look at Body ImageBWW Review: WET's EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH a Raw Blistering Look at Body Image
September 22, 2018

Over the years I've been to several plays that have cautionary signs in the lobby. Usually they mention cigarette use or strobe lights but more than a few I've seen talk about trigger warnings in the piece. I'd never really understood the trigger warning until last night at Washington Ensemble Theatre's production of "Everything You Touch", a show all about body image. As a big guy myself, I've dealt with this stuff all my life but there was a quite powerful moment in the show where suddenly I had all these memories of my own childhood come rushing back including things like tauntings in school or my Grandmother mailing me weight loss articles she cut out from the newspaper. I'd never had that much of a personal and visceral reaction to a play before which leads me to think that either I'm not as well-adjusted as I think I am or, the production from WET is just that good. I'm going to assume it's the latter. Yeah, that's it.

BWW Review: Village's THE NOTEWORTHY LIFE OF HOWARD BARNES Is Super Fun ... For NerdsBWW Review: Village's THE NOTEWORTHY LIFE OF HOWARD BARNES Is Super Fun ... For Nerds
September 21, 2018

A few years back, on one of my trips back to the Mothership (New York), I was going to see one of the many incarnations of "Forbidden Broadway", a series I've loved for years. I asked my travelling companion if he wanted to join me. And while he enjoys theater he's not what you would call a theater nerd and so he opted out feeling that many of the inside jokes would fly over his head. It turned out to be a good call. Village Theatre currently has their latest show brought up from the Village Originals Festival onto the Mainstage, "The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes" and while it has a few moments where the story drags or gets slightly mired down in its own joke, I found it to be super fun. But in retrospect, it's super fun to me and was super fun to the person I was with but we're both musical theater nerds. I think the inside jokey-ness of this one might be lost on your basic theatergoer.

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.



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