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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: Get Ready to Raise the Roof with Seattle Rep's SHOUT SISTER SHOUT! PhotoBWW Review: Seattle Rep's SHOUT SISTER SHOUT!
Posted: Nov. 14, 2019

BWW Review: AUSTEN'S PRIDE at the 5th Avenue Manages a Triple Threat PhotoBWW Review: AUSTEN'S PRIDE at the 5th Avenue
Posted: Oct. 19, 2019

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

BWW Review: Magic Abounds in San Fran's Curran with HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PhotoBWW Review: San Fran’s Curran with HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD
Posted: Dec. 10, 2019

BWW Review: Say 'Helloooo' to MRS. DOUBTFIRE at the 5th Avenue PhotoBWW Review: MRS. DOUBTFIRE at the 5th Avenue
Posted: Dec. 14, 2019

BWW Review: TRUE WEST at the Seattle Rep Bares the Teeth of a Classic PhotoBWW Review: TRUE WEST at the Seattle Rep
Posted: Jan. 23, 2020

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's JITNEY Brings in the Power of Age and Experience
March 5, 2020

I've often talked about the embarrassment of theatrical riches that we have in Seattle. We have several companies that bring us new works, many of which have made their way on to Broadway. We have a wealth of extremely talented performers who constantly wow us with their gifts. And we have a reputation that brings in talented others to play in our sandbox. But we also have a local connection to one of America's most acclaimed playwrights, August Wilson, and so we get things like the Tony nominated Broadway production of Wilson's a?oeJitneya?? remounting at the Seattle Rep with the Broadway director, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and several of the Broadway cast.

BWW Review: The Thought Police are Coming for You with Radial Theater Project's 1984
February 22, 2020

Radial Theater Project is currently presenting an adaptation of George Orwell's classic dystopian nightmare a?oe1984a??, and don't even THINK about saying anything good about it. Big Brother has sent down orders from the Ministry of Truth that there is nothing good about this production and it has no good performances or redeeming qualities, and everything is un-good. But if you know anything about the Ministry of Truth, you know everything is the exact opposite there and that holds true here as this production is a spectacular, riveting telling of this horrifying story and you need to see it. Just don't tell The Thought Police I said that.

BWW Review: Book-It's THE TURN OF THE SCREW Creeped Me Out, But Not in the Way They Hoped
February 16, 2020

Henry James' novella a?oeThe Turn of the Screwa?? is considered by some to be a classic of horror literature. A suspenseful story of ghosts and insanity that leaves each reader with a different viewpoint on what just happened. To be perfectly candid, I'd never read it and so my first exposure to it was last night's Book-It adaptation and production. And honestly, the way it was presented, I found it as suspenseful as a fly in a glass of milk, eliciting vaguely interesting questions of a?oewill she drowna?? or a?oewill she fly awaya??, but most of all a?oedo I really care?a?? All I know for certain is that I don't want to drink it anymore.

BWW Review: BLISS at the 5th Avenue Theatre Misses the Mark, But Only Slightly
February 15, 2020

Dear Readers, you may recall that several years ago there was a new musical that came through town, about Princesses (even called that), that many consider, including myself, to be one of the worst things they've ever seen. But as bad as it was, it had three things going for it. First, there was a story built around a Father's love for his daughter. Second, there was a hunky boy-band type, who may have creeped many out with his utterly rapey song a?oeJust Say Yesa??, but he was still pretty. And third, and most importantly, the show featured one truly great song that spotlighted the quirkier and subordinate a?oePrincessesa?? of the bunch. Cut to 2020 and enter the 5th Avenue Theatre's latest new musical venture, a?oeBlissa?? that, while having no real connection to that other one, blissfully and coincidentally contains those three elements and runs with them, while tossing the rest of that dreadful show into the infernos of musical theater hell (along with the likes of a?oeFlashdancea?? and a?oeLove Never Diesa??). And while a?oeBlissa?? may still have some work to do to make it truly shine (which we'll get to in a minute), it's still a delightfully fun romp into the woods with some Princess archetypes who aren't the norm but should be.

BWW Review: THE CHILDREN at the Seattle Rep Examines Legacy and Responsibility
February 13, 2020

With more and more younger people getting involved with politics and saving the planet, the question raises, what is the responsibility of the older generation, the generation that caused many of the problems, to clean up their own messes? Such a question is posed in Lucy Kirkwood's commanding play a?oeThe Childrena??, currently on stage at the Seattle Rep. But far beyond just an evening of recriminations, this delicious onion is peeled back layer by layer, thanks largely to a superb ensemble, until everything is laid bare. And once it is, it's over, allowing the audience to make up their own minds.

BWW Review: FROZEN at the Paramount Astounds with Disney Imagineering Magic
February 9, 2020

You gotta love those Disney Imagineers. They repeatedly manage to take those beloved Disney movies and reimagine them for the stage, taking them far beyond a simple rehash with some new songs into a whole new world (yes, I know, wrong show reference). And a?oeFrozena?? currently playing at the Paramount Theatre is no exception, in fact it may be the standard by which all the others will be judged. That's not to say that the effects are all that the show has going for it. We're also gifted with some insanely talented performers and some fantastic staging and choreography that totally defrosted my cold heart, as I was ready to have a MEH evening and ended up with so much more.

BWW Review: Theatre9/12 Tackles Lesser Known Miller with THE CREATION OF THE WORLD AND OTHER BUSINESS
February 8, 2020

Most people are familiar with at least some works of the renowned playwright Arthur Miller. a?oeThe Cruciblea??, a?oeAll My Sonsa??, a?oeThe Pricea??, and of course a?oeDeath of a Salesmana?? to name a few. But one of my favorites, and a somewhat lesser known Miller, is his a?oeThe Creation of the World and Other Businessa??. Not a household theatrical name, but it tends to get dusted off every now and again for actors who want to sink their teeth into something juicy and stretch themselves. Enter Theatre9/12, whose mission statement is all about letting actors stretch and sink their teeth into the goods, so it's no surprise that their current offering is a?oeThe Creation of the World a??a?? but with some slight twists. Some worked, some didn't, but in true Theatre9/12 style, the end result is a powerhouse evening.

BWW Review: Seattle Public Theater's ADMISSIONS Tackles White Privilege with Humor
February 1, 2020

As a white man I can recognize the privilege that has been afforded me throughout my life. That's not to say I didn't work hard for what I've achieved, nor to say I haven't had hard times, but that underlying privilege has always been there. But is recognizing your privilege enough? How far do you go to counteract it? Do you accept it when it's presented? Do you resent it when it works against you? These heady questions are at the center the Joshua Harmon's comedy a?oeAdmissionsa??, currently playing at Seattle Public Theater. You read that right, comedy. Just like his previous hit a?oeBad Jewsa??, Harmon manages to tackle some hot button topics and spin them so you might not notice you're thinking about them since you're laughing so hard.

BWW Review: OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD from Strawberry Theatre Workshop - A Bit Long but Worth the Wait
January 29, 2020

In Timberlake Wertenbaker's play a?oeOur Country's Gooda??, currently being offered from Strawberry Theatre Workshop, they say theatergoers should have three things. They should pay attention. How could you not with some of these incredible performances happening from the ensemble? They should be able to use their imaginations. Yes, you will need that as the ensemble of 11 play 22 roles, but with their commitment to their characters, it's not difficult to see who's speaking. And they should have patience. This is where I felt I faltered a bit last night. The show, which clocks in at 2 hours and 45 minutes including the intermission, drags on a bit at times, especially in Act One as things are getting set up.

BWW Review: PEACOCK at The Can Can Soars
January 25, 2020

The Can Can, Seattle's Hottest Burlesque Theatre, is back with an all new show, the dazzling a?oePeacocka??, plus a new cast member, and a new rival for my favorite production of theirs. In addition to their usual flashy, yet revealing costumes, on beautiful performers, and high-flying dance routines, I love it when they allow their performers the moments to use their gorgeous voices, plus I'm a sucker for a showtune. Add into that a delightful story that had the audience in the palm of their sequined hands, and they have a show that had me beaming from tops to bottoms a?? er I mean, from soup to nuts a?? wait no, from beginning to their ends a?? dammit! Well, you know what I mean.

BWW Review: TRUE WEST at the Seattle Rep Bares the Teeth of a Classic
January 23, 2020

Most theatergoing people know of Sam Shepard's a?oeTrue Westa??. It's considered a classic of American Theatre. But I have a question for you, a?oeHave you seen it?a?? It's revived every few years on Broadway but not so much locally. And I will admit, I knew it but never had the opportunity to see a production. So, when the Seattle Rep announced it as part of their season, I was thrilled to fill in that gap in my theatrical knowledge. And then when they announced a stellar cast including Kevin Anderson who killed it in last season's a?oeLast of the Boysa??, I was even more thrilled. And now after seeing it (finally) I can see why it's a classic with its superb dialog and storytelling and why actors, such as Anderson, clamor to be able to sink their teeth into these meaty characters when they come around.

BWW Review: SHE LOVES ME at Village Theatre - The RomCom that Wouldn't (and Shouldn't) Quit
January 20, 2020

Everyone loves a good Romantic Comedy, and when people find a good one, they latch onto it. Such a RomCom was the 1937 play a?oeParfumeriea?? by Miklos Laszlo. Now, if you're not familiar with that one maybe you're more familiar with some of the films that were based on it. There was the 1940 James Stewart-Margaret Sullavan film a?oeThe Shop Around the Cornera??, or how about the 1949 Judy Garland-Van Johnson musical version a?oeIn the Good Old Summertimea??. No? Well I'm sure you remember the 1998 Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan feature a?oeYou've Got Maila??. And beyond those, the play also spawned one of the most underrated and underappreciated shows in American Musical Theatre, a?oeShe Loves Mea?? by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick with a book by Joe Masteroff, currently playing at Village Theatre. a?oeShe Loves Mea?? has been revived on Broadway since it's 1963 beginnings twice, plus a concert version in 1977, but still there are too many people who don't know the glory of this show. Well, Dear Readers, let's try and change that.

BWW Review: BOHEMIA Is Back at The Triple Door for One Last Run
January 19, 2020

a?oeBohemiaa?? is back! That fabulous burlesque show from the minds of Opal Peachey and Mark Siano is back for one last time at The Triple Door before they wing their way off to Berlin to perform at the Ballhaus Berlin. With new cast members and characters, the classiest burlesque show you'll ever see has tightened up the story from their initial incarnation but still keeping it just as fun and frothy as before.

BWW Review: DANCE NATION from WET - High on Shock, Low on Story
January 18, 2020

Believe it or not, Dear Readers, I was a dancer in my youth. I took tap lessons for 12 years starting in 3rd Grade. And while I didn't do much in the way of competitions, I did see my fair share of stage moms and dancer heartache. So, a play such as Clare Barron's a?oeDance Nationa??, currently being offered from Washington Ensemble Theatre, should be right up my alley. Or it would be if it had a real story. Instead what we got was a too-long one act play that chose to shock more than anything else. With a series of vignettes and dance numbers that ultimately amounted to nothing, the show repeatedly attempts to be over the top rather than clever and has no arc or through line to hold it all together.

BWW Review: REPARATIONS from Sound Theatre Company Examines the Truth in Our Blood
January 12, 2020

What would you do if you could peek in on the memories of your ancestors? That's the question posed in the World Premiere play by Darren Canady, a?oeReparationsa??, currently offered from Sound Theatre Company. In a play filled with thought provoking ideas and stirring performances, they metaphorically examine the history in our blood.

BWW Review: Not much Sticks in Seattle Shakespeare Company's THE RIVALS
January 11, 2020

While viewing the opening night of Seattle Shakespeare Company's production of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's a?oeThe Rivalsa??, one old adage kept springing to mind. a?oeThrow it against the wall and see if it sticks.a?? Well, aside from a few standout performances, not much stuck. But that wasn't from lack of trying as director George Mount seemed to throw everything but the kitchen sink at that wall whether it fit within the play or not.

BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
January 13, 2020

Oh my! What a year! We've seen bad-ass gospel singers, lost Jewish plays, mythical towns of excretion and even an octopus wrestler or two. No, those aren't allusions to the crazy theater going on in Washington D.C. but the crazy wonderful theater going on right here in the Seattle area. It was tough coming up with just one winner (or even just a few Honorable Mentions) but I managed to do it a?? for the most part. Plus, some shows that more of you should have seen. (Yes, that's me nagging you all, Dear Readers, to check out more of the smaller or obscure theaters around here.) But what it all comes down to is, we're blessed here in the Northwest with an over-abundance of theatrical riches and I'm so fortunate to be able to share some of my favorites of the year with you with the BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks). So, let's get started, shall we?

BWW Review: SUMMER at the Paramount - A Raucous Party with No Story
January 1, 2020

a?oeSummer, The Donna Summer Musicala?? opened last night, New Year's Eve, at the Paramount like a shiny ball descending on Seattle signifying the new year. But just like the ball dropping and switching from one year to the next, it amounted to very little other than a reason to party. With a book that feels like a story conveyed by a 6-year-old with severe ADHD and staging so bad that it actually made me laugh out loud at one point, this flashy tale of the life of a Disco Diva, filled with mirror balls, strobe lights, and even a car chase on stage, falls squarely into the realm of a?oewhat were they thinking?!a??

BWW Review: Naughty Holiday Fun in WONDERLAND at the Can Can
December 21, 2019

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, sugar plums dancing in your head, and candy canes intertwined. These are some images that spring to mind when you think of the holiday season. Now what if those were euphemistic chestnuts, sugar plums, and candy canes and they were all naked and singing? Do I have your attention now? Because those naughty elves at the Can Can are back with their 6th installment of their ribald holiday extravaganza a?oeWonderlanda?? and if this doesn't fill up your stocking, nothing will.

BWW Review: Say 'Helloooo' to MRS. DOUBTFIRE at the 5th Avenue
December 14, 2019

There was no one like Robin Williams. Let's just state that right now. And when you think of Robin Williams, many gravitate towards his 1993 comedy smash a?oeMrs. Doubtfirea?? where he created an enduring, iconic character as a divorced father who posed as a female nanny in order to remain in the lives of his kids. No one can deny the brilliance of that performance and I will fight anyone who wants to try. Well, now we have a new musical version of a?oeMrs. Doubtfirea?? heading to Broadway and currently playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre. And while I recognize the impetus of putting Euphegenia Doubtfire up on stage, I also had serious anxiety over it. Would it just be a rehash of the same jokes? Would the music be any good? And would anyone be able to match the brilliance of Williams in the role? Well, after last night I can answer those questions with yes, but well handled, yes, to an extent, and YES, give that man a Tony. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's break it down into the three components of the show; the music, the heart, and the comedy.

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