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 COLOR PURPLE Revival at Paramount Fixes the Mediocre OriginalBWW Review: THE COLOR PURPLE Revival at Paramount
Posted: Jun. 28, 2018


BWW Review: Political Machinations from Theatre9/12's THE LEAGUE OF YOUTHBWW Review: Theatre9/12's THE LEAGUE OF YOUTH
Posted: Jul. 14, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

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: 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: 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: Political Machinations from Theatre9/12's THE LEAGUE OF YOUTHBWW Review: Political Machinations from Theatre9/12's THE LEAGUE OF YOUTH
July 14, 2018

A young idealist comes to town with an aim to take down the rich fat cats who have rigged the government to only work in their favor only to be swayed by the trappings of their wealth and power. Sounds like something from our government today but no, I'm referring to Henrik Ibsen's play, as adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, "The League of Youth", currently being offered from Theatre9/12, examining the goings on in a small town in Norway, 1869. I guess political corruption has been around as long as there has been politics.

BWW Review: THE COLOR PURPLE Revival at Paramount Fixes the Mediocre OriginalBWW Review: THE COLOR PURPLE Revival at Paramount Fixes the Mediocre Original
June 28, 2018

Back in 2005 Broadway was abuzz with the arrival of a musical version of the much beloved book and movie "The Color Purple". The problem was, when it arrived it landed with a thud and not a splash. It had a decent showing running for three years and touring but never really catching fire (at least not for me). I saw the original on Broadway and in the tour and it just felt like they missed the mark not really focusing on the heart of the story and with music that felt out of place. Then in 2013 the folks at The Menier Chocolate Factory in London revived the show, scaling it down to a more intimate and streamlined piece and low and behold, it now works! And that, Dear Readers, is the gloriousness that's currently playing at the Paramount.

BWW Review: PAGEANT at ACT - a Hilarious Ride from Beginning to ... Well AlmostBWW Review: PAGEANT at ACT - a Hilarious Ride from Beginning to ... Well Almost
June 16, 2018

Dear Readers, I recently commented on a show at ACT on how it was the veggies to your theatrical diet. A show that may be hard to swallow but it's good for you. Well if that show is your veggies then another show currently at ACT is your dessert. "Pageant: The Musical", currently being offered from A Sensible Theatre Co., is a frothy, glitzy good time filled with oodles of gorgeous "real women with a little something extra". And while I certainly had a blast and laughed my butt off throughout, there was one moment that stuck with me and made me say, "huh?" But we'll get to that in a bit.

BWW Review: ACT's UNTIL THE FLOOD Examines a Society After FergusonBWW Review: ACT's UNTIL THE FLOOD Examines a Society After Ferguson
June 15, 2018

We all remember hearing of the tragedy of August 9th, 2014 when Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri was shot in killed by police officer Darren Wilson in his attempt to apprehend Brown after a convenience store robbery. It may have been on the other side of the country from us but the racial unrest that followed surrounding the shooting is something that was felt everywhere. But this polarizing issue is a hard one to unpack and discuss especially without the context of being there. Enter Dael Orlandersmith and her one woman show, 'Until the Flood' currently playing at ACT, with its unique and quite complete viewpoint to give us all a new perspective.

BWW Review: Book-It Deliciously Paints the Original PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAYBWW Review: Book-It Deliciously Paints the Original PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
June 10, 2018

If you think you know Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' you may want to think again. In fact, many only know the most basic plot based on its many references in popular culture throughout the years. But whether you're a novice or a die-hard Dorian Gray aficionado, you're in for a treat from Book-It as they've based their adaptation on the only recently published original manuscript that was deemed too racy for Victorian England. But it's here now complete with all its taboo subjects the way Wilde intended and Book-It's production is, in a word, delicious.

BWW Review: 5th Ave's HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME Grows Up and Gets DarkBWW Review: 5th Ave's HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME Grows Up and Gets Dark
June 9, 2018

Let me start, Dear Readers, by saying this is NOT the frothy Disney cartoon you may recall from your youth. Yes, it does contain many of the Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz songs from the 1996 Disney animated film but this show is more akin to the Victor Hugo novel than the cartoon. Gone are the silly, wise-cracking gargoyles whom you might find recreated in a Happy Meal, and amped up is the story of religious persecution, intolerance, sex, and betrayal. Leading me to wonder, what audience are they aiming for? Disney songs, filled out with heady albeit soaringly beautiful choral pieces, and a dark and gritty story that (spoiler alert) does not end well for everyone. And this is my biggest problem with the show, it can't make up its mind as to what it wants to be.

BWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE SurprisesBWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE Surprises
June 8, 2018

One thing I've found with Paula Vogel's plays is that they never cease to surprise. You may think you know what you're in for but then she pulls back layer upon layer giving you so much more than you bargained for. This is certainly true with her Pulitzer Prize winning play "How I Learned to Drive", currently being offered from Strawberry Theatre Workshop at 12th Avenue Arts as you're given a truly horrifying subject and left unsure how to feel about those perpetrating it.

BWW Review: SPT's HAND TO GOD is a Devilish Good TimeBWW Review: SPT's HAND TO GOD is a Devilish Good Time
May 12, 2018

Dear Readers, a few years back on one of my trips to the Mothership, I managed to catch Robert Askins' hilarious play "Hand to God" on Broadway and as soon as I finished wetting myself from laughter I thought, "Someone in Seattle needs to do this so my Dear Readers can wet themselves as well." Well last night I watched the entire house at Seattle Public Theater collectively wetting themselves over this hysterical show and so my wish has come true. My wish for all of you.

BWW Review: Village's HAIRSPRAY is a Triple Threat of a ShowBWW Review: Village's HAIRSPRAY is a Triple Threat of a Show
May 11, 2018

Once again, Dear Readers, we've ventured into the realm of one of my favorites. We recently had my all-time number one in town, but I'd have to say Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's "Hairspray", is certainly in the top five with its infectious and rousing score and incredible book from Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan. I've seen countless productions including the original cast and even had the honor of being in the show. And now Village Theatre has thrown their wig in the ring with their own production and I have to say in some ways it surpasses all those others. With its Beat, Power, and Humor it's a true show triple threat.

BWW Review: Paramount Presents LOVE NEVER DIES - Oh, Please Let ItBWW Review: Paramount Presents LOVE NEVER DIES - Oh, Please Let It
May 9, 2018

I'll admit that I've never been what you would call a fan of 'Phantom of the Opera'. I appreciate it for what it is, and I find it tolerable with some interesting melodies but largely it's all flash and no substance. But now comes the (gulp) sequel to 'Phantom', 'Love Never Dies' currently playing at the Paramount, and this overblown pile of musical theater Ambien not only stretches out the story to a ridiculous effect but also by doing so exposes the original to what it really is, a desperate need for therapy and a restraining order.

BWW Review: Reboot's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS Will Eat Your HeartBWW Review: Reboot's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS Will Eat Your Heart
May 6, 2018

Dear Readers, we're about to enter the realm of my favorite show of all time, that of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's musical masterpiece "Little Shop of Horrors". I tell you this in advance so you'll understand the gravitas of my critique of anyone attempting this particular show and I've seen many. I've seen touring productions, local productions both large and small, and even one production set in an actual skid row. I even managed to see a certain Encores production with a certain movie star and the original Audrey (sigh). And now comes Reboot Theatre Company with their affinity for non-traditional casting/staging/etc. Add into that the fact that they're performing this at the Slate theater where the stage is about the size of the full-grown plant and this could be a recipe for disaster. And while I may have had a technical qualm or two, what I also saw was a company that understands the show and a production that has more heart in one tentacle than some productions have in their whole plant.

BWW Review: Seattle Shakes' SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Lacks BothBWW Review: Seattle Shakes' SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Lacks Both
May 5, 2018

During the curtain speech Seattle Shakespeare Company Artistic Director (and director of the night's show) George Mount and Managing Director John Bradshaw joked on how they don't often get to present a Washington premiere since they usually deal in 400-year-old plays. What they also don't usually contend with is the trend of turning every successful movie into a theatrical endeavor but here we are with the Seattle Shakespeare Company presenting the stage version of 'Shakespeare in Love' based on the 1998 film. Now don't get me wrong, not all stage adaptations are awful and this one seems to be almost directly lifted from the wonderful Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard screenplay by the adapter Lee Hall so the script isn't entirely the problem here. No, the problems I have are threefold and amount to two very egregious things for a show entitled 'Shakespeare in Love'. There's not enough 'Shakespeare' and not enough 'Love'. But let's start from the top.

BWW Review: PILGRIMS from Forward Flux Meanders with Little PayoffBWW Review: PILGRIMS from Forward Flux Meanders with Little Payoff
May 4, 2018

Claire Kiechel, author of "Pilgrims" currently being offered from Forward Flux Productions at West of Lenin, lists in her bio that she is a writer on Netflix's "The OA". So, a Sci Fi play complete with mystery and secrets should be a surprise to no one. However, unlike "The OA", Kiechel's play meanders about space with many superfluous scenes that come out of left field ultimately leading, in a disturbing way, to an ending that amounts to little more than a "huh, so that happened".

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's FAMILIAR Reinvigorates the Wedding ComedyBWW Review: Seattle Rep's FAMILIAR Reinvigorates the Wedding Comedy
May 3, 2018

The family dramedy of a wedding in chaos is no new idea in fact it's been done to death. That's not to say there aren't good ones but it's certainly a subject that's been thoroughly mined. Or so I thought. Danai Gurira's fantastic play "Familiar", currently playing at the Seattle Rep, takes this old trope and reinvigorates it by infusing it with the story of a family choosing whether they stick with tradition or find their own way. Add to that the fact that it's just a touching and hilarious piece and Gurira proves that the old wedding play trope still has a few tricks left in her.

BWW Review: WET's Creepy Techno-thriller THE NETHERBWW Review: WET's Creepy Techno-thriller THE NETHER
April 28, 2018

As the folks at Washington Ensemble Theatre point out over and over in the lobby and in the press info of their latest offering, Jennifer Haley's "The Nether", the show is filled with trigger warnings and not for the faint of heart. With strobe lights and elements of violence and sexual assault of children at the forefront of the story, some may not be able to handle the play. Even I, who usually scoffs at any kind of trigger warning with a haughty derision that reads, "I can handle whatever you want to throw at me", found myself squirming in my seat and had occasion to want to stand and yell, "oh, don't do that!" (I did not.) But if you can get past the ick-factor what you have is a well-crafted thriller with a futuristic bent that will keep you guessing.

BWW Review: A Powerful GOAL! From ACT's THE WOLVESBWW Review: A Powerful GOAL! From ACT's THE WOLVES
April 27, 2018

Slice of life plays can be difficult, at least I've always found them so. They tend toward story, upon story, upon story, with little through line or resolution as life goes on. Such could be the case with Sarah DeLappe's "The Wolves" currently at ACT were it not for the fact that it's chock full of crackling dialog and high-intensity performances. And so, any perceived drawbacks I may have from this slice of life play don't seem to matter.

BWW Review: Powerhouse Performances in Book-It's BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAOBWW Review: Powerhouse Performances in Book-It's BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO
April 22, 2018

Book-It Repertory Theatre has once again brought to life another gripping tale, this time with Junot Diaz's, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao", as adapted and directed by Elise Thoron. And as gripping as the tale is what makes it even more riveting are the powerhouse performances from the over 20 characters inhabiting the stage at the Center House Theatre throughout the evening creating the beautiful, funny, dangerous and heartbreaking world. Oh, and did I mention all of the over 20 characters are being played by one lone, amazing actor, Elvis Nolasco?

BWW Review: MAP's Dark Absurd Comedy YEAR OF THE ROOSTERBWW Review: MAP's Dark Absurd Comedy YEAR OF THE ROOSTER
April 15, 2018

On the surface Olivia Dufault's "Year of the Rooster" doesn't seem like a fun night out filled with laughs. A play about a failed trainer for cock fights. And to be honest it packs an ending that will not send you whistling into the street filled with hope for tomorrow. But this is MAP Theatre, and as their mission statement says, "We favor local work and comedy that hurts a bit" and this one does hurt. But at the same time, it's filled with stunning performances and more than a few laughs in this absurd yet all too grounded world director Peggy Gannon and the cast and crew have created over at 18th and Union.

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
April 14, 2018

When you think the classic era of Broadway Musicals, many lean toward Rodgers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Loewe but for my money I always go right to Cole Porter. Maybe not as prolific when it comes to hit shows as the others but you can't dismiss the undeniable genius of "Anything Goes" and of course "Kiss Me, Kate" (my personal favorite), currently playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre. And the folks at the 5th have not only done right by this classic tuner by packing it to the brim with the best singers, dancers and comedians they could find but the production is a love letter to the predecessors of the production, most notably the visual style which is so reminiscent of the 1953 film version, making this far more than a killer show, but an homage.

Beloved Seattle Comedian and Actress, Peggy Platt Dies at 58 - Remembrance ScheduledBeloved Seattle Comedian and Actress, Peggy Platt Dies at 58 - Remembrance Scheduled
April 4, 2018

It is with a very heavy heart that I pass along the news that Peggy Platt, the beloved Seattle comedian and actress, passed away Monday night at the age of 58. Peggy, a staple of the Seattle entertainment community, was known for her brash humor and take no prisoners attitude.



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