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 2018 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2018 Seattle Critic?s Choice Awards (Jay?s Picks)
Posted: Jan. 11, 2019


BWW Feature: The Top 10 Upcoming Shows in Seattle I'm Excited About in 2019BWW Feature: The Top 10 Upcoming Shows I'm Excited About in 2019
Posted: Jan. 7, 2019


BWW Review: Village's I DO! I DO! a Show about Commitment, That Lacks CommitmentBWW Review: Village?s I DO! I DO!
Posted: Jan. 18, 2019


BWW Review: WET's Absurdist Political Thriller B Ticks on Too Long Before ExplodingBWW Review: WET?s Absurdist Political Thriller B
Posted: Jan. 12, 2019


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: 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: 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
Posted: Apr. 14, 2018


BWW Review: Village's I DO! I DO! a Show about Commitment, That Lacks Commitment
January 18, 2019

As a self-proclaimed musical theater geek, I'll admit to some gaps in my geekdom and Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's 1966 musical "I Do! I Do!" falls squarely into that gap. Before going to see the current production at Village Theatre I knew nothing about it. I don't even think I've heard the errant song from it off one of my many compilation albums. And now having seen it I'm more than happy to let it fall back into obscurity. With its paper thin, almost conflict free storyline, and songs that simply peter out into an air of forgetfulness, the only thing that saved the evening were the two people performing the show, Kendra Kassebaum and Peter Saide, but even they couldn't save this one.

BWW Review: WET's Absurdist Political Thriller B Ticks on Too Long Before Exploding
January 12, 2019

Any good play wants to contain a solid beginning, middle, and end. But you know the old adage, give them a strong ending and they'll forgive a lot. But what happens when a one-act, one hour and 35-minute show just has a strong middle? I'll tell you, a lot of me checking my watch near the end and an audience not sure if the play was over since there were two possible endings and no curtain call. Such was the case with Washington Ensemble Theatre's current production of B, the absurdist political thriller from Guillermo Calderon.

BWW 2018 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
January 11, 2019

Dear Readers, it has been one crazy year with some amazing theater. You know it's true. We've had dead teens riding a roller coaster, demonic puppets, and an ageless guy with a picture of himself in his attic. And, of course, a hip-hop founding father sweeping through town. But let's not talk about the juggernaut when we have such amazing things right here that blew us all away. At least they blew me away. So, let's talk about what blew me away this past year and what I have chosen to give my BWW 2018 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks) to (not to mention all those honorable mentions since often I can't limit myself to just one).

BWW Feature: The Top 10 Upcoming Shows in Seattle I'm Excited About in 2019
January 7, 2019

It's a whole new year with a whole new slate of fabulous theater coming to Seattle and the surrounding areas. So many exciting shows ready to thrill and astound us, make us laugh and cry. And so, I thought I'd let you in on the Top 10 shows coming up that I'm most excited about (actually 11 since I couldn't narrow it down to 10 but 'Top 10' sounded better) in chronological order.

BWW Review: THE LION KING National Tour at Paramount has Drawn the Circle of Life Too Many Times
December 15, 2018

Dear Readers, I'm going to start out by coming clean to a fact that may cause a few gasps. I've never liked "The Lion King". Unlike much of the rest of America I didn't think the movie was that great and I seriously don't care for the stage version. The story is just a watered-down version of "Hamlet", the music is written by committee with many different composers contributing to the score making for an inconsistent show, and it's all flash and spectacle trying to overshadow songs that don't move anything along by throwing everything they can on stage to distract. It's just overrated. "But," many have retorted, "the costumes are so great." To which I always reply, "Yes, and you see many of them in the first five minutes of the show in the costume parade disguised as an opening number, "Circle of Life". And then after you've seen that, then what? The show has blown their big moment at the beginning of the show and it's all downhill from there. Plus, this is a musical. I come for more than costumes." But we're not here for me to eviscerate "The Lion King", which I could do all day. We know I don't care for it but that aside, how was the current production at the Paramount? Let's discuss that.

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

Dear Readers, I need you to stop what you're doing right now (including reading this review) and go to www.seattlepublictheater.com and get your tickets to the most ridiculous fun you'll have this holiday season, 'A Very Die Hard Christmas'. Seriously tickets are going fast so do it now and then come back and read the rest of this. I'll wait here and sing softly to myself while you're gone. ('If you like Pina Coladas, getting' caught in the rain. If you're not into yoga. If you have half a brain') Oh, you're back? Did you do it? Good. Now let me tell you about the glorious show you just bought tickets to from the brilliance of Mark Siano, John Kranz, Jeff Schell, and the deliciously demented minds of The Habit.

BWW Review: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at SMT Filled with Talent ... When it Gets Through
December 2, 2018

Seattle Musical Theatre has taken on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" for the holidays, that bright and frothy, crowd-pleaser of a tuner. And while for this production they've managed to gather up some stellar talent, that talent sometimes has a hard time getting through the noise, or in most cases, the lack of noise.

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

You may say, Dear Readers, that it's impossible to have a bad production of the Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin classic "Annie". Throw some precocious kids on stage, belt out those recognizable tunes and you're gold. Well, I beg to differ as I've seen my share of "Annie" productions that missed the point, or the heart or maybe just didn't quite have the kids to pull it off well. (You know what they say, never work with kids or animals and this show has BOTH!) Well the current production at the 5th Avenue not only has the perfect tone for this boisterously fun old time musical, but they know exactly where the heart is in the show and in the audience and which buttons to push on both. Not to mention those precocious kids all seem to be consummate professionals with killer voices. So much so I'm suspecting they were actually just short adults. Maybe?

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's IN THE HEIGHTS Will Bring You Home
November 30, 2018

Before there was "Hamilton" there was "In the Heights". I know I'm a nerd, but it floors me how many people don't know that. Most theater aficionados know of "Hamilton" and by extension of Lin-Manuel Miranda but have a blind spot for "In the Heights" the Tony winning show that put Miranda on the map. And while it certainly feels like an early work from the man who would become King, it's still quite stunning and ground breaking for its time and the production from the Seattle Rep manages to capture all the heat and heart that the show demands.

BWW 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 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?
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 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 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 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 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 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 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'
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!
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.



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