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: 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: THE LAST FIVE YEARS at Taproot Showcases More Talent Than You Might ExpectBWW Review: THE LAST FIVE YEARS at Taproot Showcases More Talent Than You Might Expect
Posted: Sep. 22, 2017


BWW Review: Disney's ALADDIN at the Paramount Grows Up and Rediscovers its MagicBWW Review: Disney's ALADDIN at the Paramount Grows Up and Rediscovers its Magic
Posted: Oct. 14, 2017


BWW Review: 5th Ave's RAGTIME Strikes to the Heart of its Own Story and BeyondBWW Review: 5th Ave's RAGTIME Strikes to the Heart of its Own Story and Beyond
Posted: Oct. 21, 2017


BWW Review: ACT's Searing THE CRUCIBLE Shines with all Substance and Very Little FlashBWW Review: ACT's Searing THE CRUCIBLE Shines with all Substance and Very Little Flash
Posted: Oct. 20, 2017


BWW Review: Theater Schmeater's NEIGHBORHOOD 3 Confounds with Little PayoffBWW Review: Theater Schmeater's NEIGHBORHOOD 3 Confounds with Little Payoff
Posted: Sep. 25, 2017


BWW Review: Fantastic Z's NEXT FALL a Beautiful Play with an Uneven Emotional CoreBWW Review: Fantastic Z's NEXT FALL a Beautiful Play with an Uneven Emotional Core
Posted: Sep. 30, 2017


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... LiterallyBWW Review: Seattle Rep's HERE LIES LOVE Brings Down the House ... Literally
Posted: Apr. 21, 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: 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: Seattle Rep's WELL Hilariously Deconstructs One-Woman ShowsBWW Review: Seattle Rep?s WELL Deconstructs One-Woman Shows
Posted: Feb. 16, 2017


BWW Review: 5th Avenue's THE LITTLE MERMAID is Swimmingly MagicalBWW Review: 5th Avenue?s THE LITTLE MERMAID is Swimmingly Magical
Posted: Dec. 2, 2016


BWW Review: Surprisingly Affected by Resonant WOODY SEZ at Seattle RepBWW Review: Resonant WOODY SEZ at Seattle Rep
Posted: Jan. 13, 2017


BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2016 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
Posted: Dec. 31, 2016


BWW Review: 5th Ave's RAGTIME Strikes to the Heart of its Own Story and BeyondBWW Review: 5th Ave's RAGTIME Strikes to the Heart of its Own Story and Beyond
October 21, 2017

Back in 1997 a somewhat younger Broadway Geek became obsessed with the musical Ragtime . I even travelled to other cities to see it as many times as I could and basically became obsessed. I tell you this so you'll understand, Dear Readers, my deep love for this show which is firmly one of my top ten desert island shows and how amazingly picky I am with any production of it. With that in mind you'll understand, after reading this review, why you MUST go and get tickets to the current production at the 5th Avenue Theatre. A production that brought up almost all the feels from my initial viewing of this sublime show and even a few new ones.

BWW Review: ACT's Searing THE CRUCIBLE Shines with all Substance and Very Little FlashBWW Review: ACT's Searing THE CRUCIBLE Shines with all Substance and Very Little Flash
October 20, 2017

Arthur Miller's classic The Crucible remains a kind of mainstay of theater across the country from professional productions down to the myriad high school productions. But for it to ring true it must resonate with society's repeated history with mob mentality whether that be the literal Salem witch trials of the story or McCarthyism or even more recent moments in our history where truth is over shadowed by fear. And while ACT's current production of the classic nails those themes it also manages to make the production all about the stellar performances and the brilliant script than about any set or costumes or flashy presentation.

BWW Review: Chinese Gender and Economic Politics with Seattle Public's WORLD OF EXTREME HAPPINESSBWW Review: Chinese Gender and Economic Politics with Seattle Public's WORLD OF EXTREME HAPPINESS
October 16, 2017

Life is hard for female children and for women in general in China. This is the basic message from Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's play The World of Extreme Happiness currently playing at Seattle Public Theater. The big problem with this is that we all know this and so beyond that, what story do they want to tell with this play and why are they telling it? For the life of me, I was never really certain.

BWW Review: Disney's ALADDIN at the Paramount Grows Up and Rediscovers its MagicBWW Review: Disney's ALADDIN at the Paramount Grows Up and Rediscovers its Magic
October 14, 2017

Back in 2011 many of us here in Seattle were subjected to a very different version of Disney's Aladdin than what you might see currently playing at the Paramount Theatre. Also for many of us that previous version left a bad taste in our mouths for the property. A property that we loved in its original movie form 25 years ago (wow, was it that long ago). But this new version on tour now from the Broadway incarnation seems to have grown up from its shaky beginnings and now delivers a fun ride for kids and adults alike.

BWW Review: The Infectious Bliss of Seattle Rep's PRIDE AND PREJUDICEBWW Review: The Infectious Bliss of Seattle Rep's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
October 5, 2017

There's a general rule of thumb in any theatrical production that if the cast is enjoying what they are doing then that will translate into audience connection and enjoyment. Of course, good source material like Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice doesn't hurt the issue nor does a wonderfully quirky adaptation by Kate Hamill. But it's those two elements combined with the fact that the kick-ass ensemble cast, currently performing the piece at Seattle Repertory Theatre, appears to be big kids having two and a half hours of play-time on stage every night and having the times of their lives that makes this a winner. And that energy is certainly infectious creating uproarious laughter from the audience (and even sometimes from their fellow cast members as well).

BWW Review: Fantastic Z's NEXT FALL a Beautiful Play with an Uneven Emotional CoreBWW Review: Fantastic Z's NEXT FALL a Beautiful Play with an Uneven Emotional Core
September 30, 2017

There are two things, Dear Readers, that drive me crazy in watching any theatrical endeavor, shmacting and not listening, we'll dive into the meanings of those more in a bit, but what they accomplish is sapping the emotional core from a show. Fantastic Z's current production of Next Fall partially suffers from these dilemmas in that half of the cast is guilty of it. And in a show like this, only half an emotional core is just not enough.

BWW Review: Theater Schmeater's NEIGHBORHOOD 3 Confounds with Little PayoffBWW Review: Theater Schmeater's NEIGHBORHOOD 3 Confounds with Little Payoff
September 25, 2017

Let me assure you that you need not have seen Neighborhood 1 or Neighborhood 2 in order to understand Theater Schmeater's current show Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom for two reasons. First, there are no such things as Neighborhood 1 or Neighborhood 2 as the title does not refer to any kind of play trilogy. And second, I don't think even two prequels would be enough to make this show make sense.

BWW Review: THE LAST FIVE YEARS at Taproot Showcases More Talent Than You Might ExpectBWW Review: THE LAST FIVE YEARS at Taproot Showcases More Talent Than You Might Expect
September 22, 2017

The Last Five Years , that Jason Robert Brown quirky two hander gets put up quite a bit and it stands to reason, it's a fun show filled with rich songs, it's only two actors, it typically has little to no set and so everyone and their dog puts it on. I've seen it multiple times since it came on the scene. I've seen basic, traditional productions. I've seen productions with multiple rotating casts. I've even seen a production where they reimagined why the relationship ends. So while I was leery of yet another production with the word reimagined in the description it also had two local powerhouses in the roles so I had faith. Well that faith was paid off in spades as not only did they present a killer rendition of this incredible show but their reimagining only served to showcase how insanely talented these two are. But we'll get to that.

BWW Review: TEH INTERNET IS SERIOUS BUSINESS from WET brings the Lulz and Even Some ThoughtzBWW Review: TEH INTERNET IS SERIOUS BUSINESS from WET brings the Lulz and Even Some Thoughtz
September 19, 2017

First and foremost, this is not a typo. The current show from Washington Ensemble Theatre is titled Teh Internet is Serious Business no matter how many times spell check tries to auto correct it for me. And with a title like that you might assume that this will just be a series of computer jokes like having incarnations of grumpy cat or sarcastic Willy Wonka Memes live trolling during the show and while all of that happens, what also happens is a fascinating look at a key part of internet history as well as a highly inventive show with some innovative staging.

BWW Review: Book-It Examines the Birth of an Icon with I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGSBWW Review: Book-It Examines the Birth of an Icon with I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS
September 17, 2017

Easily one of the most influential American writers of our time, Maya Angelou beyond being an amazing poet an author was also an outspoken civil rights activist and icon for our age. Book-It Repertory has done honor to this fine woman with their current production of her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings .

BWW Review: Village's INTO THE WOODS Has Moments in the Woods but No ConnectionsBWW Review: Village's INTO THE WOODS Has Moments in the Woods but No Connections
September 16, 2017

I'll admit, Dear Readers, that when I saw the cast list for Village Theatre's current production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's classic Into the Woods I was quite excited. It was (and is) quite a list of powerhouse talent and not the usual suspects for a Village show. But Sondheim's show, as much as it's done by every professional house, community theater, or school is by no means a bulletproof show and something egregious must have happened (or didn't happen) between then and now as the production I saw last night, while technically good with well sung songs lacked any kind of emotional resonance, heart, stakes, or even connection between the characters. And for a show like this, pretty singing is not enough.

BWW Review: Charming Meta Journey with KING OF THE YEES at ACTBWW Review: Charming Meta Journey with KING OF THE YEES at ACT
September 15, 2017

It's a world we may not know much about, that of old school Chinatown, with their family associations and insider customs. Hell, Lauren Yee grew up in this world and even she seems to be cut off from it and her Father Larry Yee runs the Yee Family Association. But that's the point of her play King of the Yees currently playing at ACT. Bur before you think this is another one of those dreadful family therapy on stage shows (and you know how I loathe those, Dear Readers) the show, with its quick witty dialog goes to a delightful meta and eventually metaphysical place making it an absolute joy.

BWW Review: Previously Promised SOMETHING ROTTEN! Finally Comes to 5th Ave - Worth the Wait?BWW Review: Previously Promised SOMETHING ROTTEN! Finally Comes to 5th Ave - Worth the Wait?
September 14, 2017

Let's set the Way Back Machine to the 2014/2015 season where the 5th Avenue Theatre touted the pre-Broadway tryout of a new musical comedy called Something Rotten! . Many musical theater geeks, myself included, were quite excited at the premise of this new tuner but then the theater Gods frowned upon us and smiled on them as they announced they would go right to Broadway. The show had a respectable run on Broadway despite getting a few tepid reviews from the New York critics but now it's back and the question remains, did we miss out and was the show worth the wait? Well I can say that the show is incredibly stupid and silly, filled with crass and bawdy humor and more musical theater references than you can shake a jazz hand at. But above all, it's FUN! If you're looking for some deep meaning then, by all means look elsewhere but if you want to laugh and don't mind repeated phallic jokes then this could be right up your alley.

Photo Coverage: Public Works Seattle's ODYSSEY a Delight for All – But this is NOT a Review!
September 9, 2017

Dear Readers, it's my unfortunate job, at this moment, to tell you of a show that you'll probably never get to see. Public Works Seattle's "The Odyssey" at the Seattle Rep kicked off last night and unfortunately for those who don't already have tickets, is only running through Sunday and, I believe, is already sold out.

BWW Review: ArtsWest's THE WHO AND THE WHAT Doesn't Connect with the Who or the WhatBWW Review: ArtsWest's THE WHO AND THE WHAT Doesn't Connect with the Who or the What
September 8, 2017

Playwright Ayad Akhtar is one of the darlings of contemporary theater with his Pulitzer Prize winning play "Disgraced" as well as his acclaimed "The Invisible Hand" (my favorite of his) getting production after production around the world. He manages to take on seriously hot button topics and expose them with rich and engaging characters and his "The Who and the What", currently playing at ArtsWest and co-produced with Pratidhwani, is no exception. But his shows are by no means bulletproof. These characters need to be performed with engagement so they really connect with the issues and each other and as a result with the audience and that's where the ArtsWest production fails. They don't fail completely but enough that what could have been a searing social-political family drama comes across like a tepid sit-com.

BWW Interview: David Edward Hughes and His New Company SING OUT LOUISE! THEATRICALSBWW Interview: David Edward Hughes and His New Company SING OUT LOUISE! THEATRICALS
August 18, 2017

Hello, Dear Readers. I recently got the chance to sit down with Seattle Theater staple David Edward Hughes to pick his brain on his career, his views on the state of local theater and, most importantly, his new theater company Sing Out Louise! Theatricals which will be announcing their inaugural season at their gala event on August 26th. An evening guaranteed to be filled to the brim with songs old, new and strange.

BWW Feature: 17TH ANNUAL VILLAGE ORIGINALS FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS at Village TheatreBWW Feature: 17TH ANNUAL VILLAGE ORIGINALS FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS at Village Theatre
August 16, 2017

Well, Dear Readers, it's my favorite weekend of the year again. The weekend when Village Theatre gathers together all the best musical theater talent and presents readings of five up and coming new musicals. Yes, it's the 17th Annual Village Originals Festival of New Musicals or as I like to call it, Musical Theater Nerd Paradise. They presented us with some really outstanding works and while I can't review them, I can still tell you about the shows themselves.

BWW Review: CURIOUS INCIDENT at the Paramount – A Brilliant Gut Punch
July 26, 2017

A few years back I had the great fortune of seeing Simon Stephens' brilliant play, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" on Broadway. By intermission I was visibly shaken and by the end I was an emotional mess. But seeing it again last night for its current run at the Paramount Theatre, and having a little bit more familiarity and perspective on it I recognized one key thing. This show is easily not for everyone (an attitude I could not fathom when I first saw it). Personally, I was still affected but with its deliberate in your face staging and off-kilter central character I can see how it might be tough for some to connect to the piece while others will be blown away.

BWW Review: ACT's Stirring ALEX & ARIS Relies Too Much on Advance KnowledgeBWW Review: ACT's Stirring ALEX & ARIS Relies Too Much on Advance Knowledge
July 23, 2017

There are certain shows out there that, while being engaging and performed well, make you feel like you're missing something. Many of the plays of Tom Stoppard are that way for me in that, unless you've taken a master class on that particular subject matter, you may not get the full impact. The World Premiere of Moby Pomerance's "Alex & Aris", currently playing at ACT, falls into this category. Stirring performances and crisp dialog but unless you've taken the prerequisite class on Greek history you may fall behind.

BWW Review: Café Nordo's SUNDOWN AT THE DEVIL'S HOUSE is Anything But Hellish
July 22, 2017

Don't let this worry you but it's time to summon the Devil. Well that's the conceit of the current show at Cafe Nordo, "Sundown at the Devil's House". And while they may not summon up THE Devil they do summon up some delicious food, hilarious and touching antics and rockin' music making for a devilishly good time.



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