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'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: Seattle Rep's TWO TRAINS RUNNING Undercut with Quiet StrengthBWW Review: Seattle Rep's TWO TRAINS RUNNING Undercut with Quiet Strength
Posted: Jan. 18, 2018


BWW Review: BOHEMIA Delights All the SensesBWW Review: BOHEMIA Delights All the Senses
Posted: Jan. 21, 2018


BWW Review: 5th Ave's MAMMA MIA Soars on Song but a Bit Light on StorytellingBWW Review: 5th Ave's MAMMA MIA Soars on Song but a Bit Light on Storytelling
Posted: Feb. 10, 2018


BWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's Riveting FROST/NIXON a Must SeeBWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's Riveting FROST/NIXON a Must See
Posted: Jan. 19, 2018


BWW Review: HAMILTON at the Paramount Does Not Throw Away Its ShotBWW Review: HAMILTON at the Paramount Does Not Throw Away Its Shot
Posted: Feb. 15, 2018


BWW Review: Book-It and Caf? Nordo's THE MALTESE FALCON Makes a Killer NightBWW Review: Book-It and Caf? Nordo's THE MALTESE FALCON Makes a Killer Night
Posted: Feb. 11, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

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: 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 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: Village's NEWSIES Brings Intimacy to the Big Splashy MusicalBWW Review: Village's NEWSIES Brings Intimacy to the Big Splashy Musical
Posted: Nov. 10, 2017


BWW Interview: How Composers Gwendolyn Sanford?and?Brandon Jay Will Make Us All Have a ROMY AND MICHELE DayBWW Interview: How Composers Gwendolyn Sanford?and?Brandon Jay Will Make Us All Have a ROMY AND MICHELE Day
Posted: May. 25, 2017


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
Posted: Aug. 18, 2017


BWW Review: HAMILTON at the Paramount Does Not Throw Away Its ShotBWW Review: HAMILTON at the Paramount Does Not Throw Away Its Shot
February 15, 2018

Yes, it's true. The undeniable juggernaut that is the multiple Tony Award winner, including for Best Musical, 'Hamilton' has descended upon Seattle. Just like in New York for so long, theatergoers here will now be uttering the same query to each other, 'Have you seen 'Hamilton' yet?' And if you were lucky enough to snag some tickets through a Season subscription, the general sale or maybe the daily 'Hamilton' lottery you'll be able to answer with a resounding 'YES, and it was AMAZING!' But why is it amazing and how does this one stack up to the original cast with which most are so familiar? Well, Dear Readers, let's talk.

BWW Review: Book-It and Café Nordo's THE MALTESE FALCON Makes a Killer Night
February 11, 2018

It was a cold night in the City of Emeralds. The kind of cold where your words just hung in the air as you spoke. Lucky for me and the other patrons of Cafe Nordo, the doors would soon open. Once inside a sultry dame looked me up and down and uttered the word I'd been waiting all night to hear, "Name?" Then another dame led me to my table plied me with drinks and food and thus began my journey into Book-It Repertory Theatre's sumptuous mystery dining experience of Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon". An experience that may not make me wealthy as the only falcon I found was a gold dusted cookie (which was delicious) but I certainly left the place richer after having seen one of my favorite Nordo and Book-It shows to date.

BWW Review: 5th Ave's MAMMA MIA Soars on Song but a Bit Light on StorytellingBWW Review: 5th Ave's MAMMA MIA Soars on Song but a Bit Light on Storytelling
February 10, 2018

Yes, it's that big frothy ABBA musical "Mamma Mia" back again to get all the Dancing Queens shakin' it in the aisles. It's come through town several times and what fan hasn't seen the movie? But the national tour closed a year ago so how has this show not met its Waterloo? Well this is not a tour, this is our local big musical theater house, the 5th Avenue Theatre putting up their very own production. So, how does this local production stack up against that national ones? Let's dive in.

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
February 8, 2018

When a show works, when all the elements come together from cast to crew, from set to script, it's just a joy to behold. But when that script is a brand-new piece and you realize you're seeing the birth of something incredible it becomes even more special. Such is the case with the World Premiere of David Grimm's 'Ibsen in Chicago' currently playing at the Seattle Rep, a wonderful new work that manages to sneak up on you with how engaging and meaningful it is amidst all the laughs.

BWW Review: West of Lenin's AMERICAN HWANGAP Lacks ConnectionBWW Review: West of Lenin's AMERICAN HWANGAP Lacks Connection
February 3, 2018

Lloyd Sun's play, "American Hwangap", currently playing at West of Lenin in association with SIS Productions, by its very nature should be about connection and reconnection. Unfortunately, the play itself lacks the depth needed to form those connections and the pacing of the production doesn't help.

BWW Review: Seattle Public's VANISHING POINT Suffers Repetition and Melodic InconsistencyBWW Review: Seattle Public's VANISHING POINT Suffers Repetition and Melodic Inconsistency
January 29, 2018

Seattle Public Theater currently has a musical on their boards, "Vanishing Point", highlighting the stories of three remarkable women, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson (Heather Hawkins), aviatrix Amelia Earhart (Cristin J. Hubbard), and mystery writer Agatha Christie (Rebecca M. Davis). Each of these women, very different from each other, have one thing in common, that they each disappeared under mysterious circumstances. And while the premise may sound fascinating and they may boast an impressive cast, the musical itself is weighed down by repetitive lyrics that fail to move anything along and few melodies you can latch onto.

BWW Review: BOHEMIA Delights All the SensesBWW Review: BOHEMIA Delights All the Senses
January 21, 2018

Whether or not you actually drink the absinthe (and there is plenty of it flowing) the green fairies are out in full force at the latest venture from Opal Peachey and Mark Siano, Bohemia , currently playing at The Triple Door. Should you catch this eye-popping extravaganza (and you should) be prepared for an evening of decadence for your eyes, ears, and taste buds. I'm sure Siano and Peachey would have liked to have included the other two senses as well but that might have landed us back in the territory of their previous hit show, Seattle Vice although some of the numbers came pretty close to that territory.

BWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's Riveting FROST/NIXON a Must SeeBWW Review: Strawberry Theatre Workshop's Riveting FROST/NIXON a Must See
January 19, 2018

Peter Morgan's brilliant look at the dissection of one of the most powerful men in the country by one whom many considered a joke, 'Frost/Nixon', is enough of an enticement to want to see Strawberry Theatre Workshop's current production. But then when you hear that director Greg Carter has cast the predominantly male show with all women you could find yourself of two minds. Either, 'cool, this will be interesting' or, 'oh, another gimmick casting'. But I want you to put the idea that it's an all-female cast out of your mind as that's not the point. Sure, it's great that these actresses get to play these meaty, traditionally male roles but what you should focus on is how each of them, especially Alexandra Tavares and Amy Thone as the titular David Frost and Richard Nixon, are simply the best people for the roles. And what they create for us is a thrilling game of cat and mouse where the role of the cat keeps changing.

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's TWO TRAINS RUNNING Undercut with Quiet StrengthBWW Review: Seattle Rep's TWO TRAINS RUNNING Undercut with Quiet Strength
January 18, 2018

The Seattle Rep, fortunately for all of us, has long held a special relationship with the works of August Wilson. They're one of the few theaters in the country to have done his entire Century Cycle sometimes premiering those plays as was the case with 'Two Trains Running' which they produced back in 1991 and have brought back to us this season. And as always, Wilson's plays still resonate and the Rep, this time in conjunction with Arena Stage, continues to present them with tons of honesty and heart.

BWW Review: WET's STRAIGHT WHITE MEN Examines Privilege but Takes the Long Way AroundBWW Review: WET's STRAIGHT WHITE MEN Examines Privilege but Takes the Long Way Around
January 14, 2018

As you enter the theater for Washington Ensemble Theatre's Straight White Men , currently playing at 12th Ave Arts, you are greeted with Hip Hop music with questionable lyrics amped up to the point that you can feel the bass in your filings. You're told at the outset of the show that the reason for this is to take away the privilege of being comfortable from most in the audience who wouldn't care for that. What follows is Young Jean Lee's overly stereotypical and clich examination of four straight white men and their privilege. So, I can only assume seeing an interesting play with a point was also a privilege we were denied.

BWW Review: Cross Gender TIMON OF ATHENS from Seattle Shakes' Drags with Little StakesBWW Review: Cross Gender TIMON OF ATHENS from Seattle Shakes' Drags with Little Stakes
January 13, 2018

If you're going to put up Shakespeare (or any play really) with a different time or locale or, as is the case with the current Seattle Shakespeare Company production of Timon of Athens , with cross gender casting then have a reason for it. Have the shakeup mean something. With cross gender stuff, it can be as simple as wanting to give the female actors of the area a chance to play the meatier parts since Shakespeare is traditionally light on those for women. But if that is your reasoning, and I suspect it was in this case no matter what the program says (but we'll get to that in a minute) then be well sure that you put up an engaging production especially with a seldom done play (and for good reason) such as Timon of Athens . Unfortunately, the minor cross casting here lent nothing to this production and the production itself suffered from a dreadful droning pace in a play that already has the tendency to drone.

BWW Review: I Believe! THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Paramount Still ShinesBWW Review: I Believe! THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Paramount Still Shines
January 4, 2018

God's favorite musical is back! This is, I believe, the fourth time the tour of The Book of Mormon , that juggernaut musical from 2011 (the Hamilton of its day) from the warped minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame and Robert Lopez who co-wrote Avenue Q (as well as that little animated film Frozen ), has come through town. And the appeal of its crass humor, repeated gay jokes, and borderline sacrilege shows no signs of waning. I know I left the theater smiling and laughing and still humming the songs all the way home because underneath it all, it's still just a damn good musical.

BWW 2017 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)BWW 2017 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
January 4, 2018

Dear Readers, it's been quite a year and, hopefully, we've come through it unscathed. God knows we've needed some shows to help us escape and others to make us think. But through it all we've had several shows that have proven to shine as some of the best of the year. Out of all the shows I was fortunate enough to see this year, I've selected a few that stood out. Here are those stand outs, a few honorable mentions and a few special mentions about which I just couldn't help myself but to mention in their own special way.

BWW Review: Wacky, Whimsical, Fun with Nordo's THE VIEW FROM SANTA'S LAPBWW Review: Wacky, Whimsical, Fun with Nordo's THE VIEW FROM SANTA'S LAP
December 9, 2017

And I thought last year's offering from Caf Nordo and Scot Sgt. Rigsby Auguston was crazy. But Auguston has amped the wacky fun up to 12 now with their latest incarnation The View from Santa's Lap complete with delicious food, shadow puppet mermaids, and (dum dum dum) MURDER!

BWW Review: 5th Ave's HOLIDAY INN Hits All the Right Notes but Misses the SparkBWW Review: 5th Ave's HOLIDAY INN Hits All the Right Notes but Misses the Spark
December 4, 2017

I should start, Dear Readers, by saying that I've been spoiled where the stage musical of Holiday Inn is concerned. Spoiled by the filmed version of the recent Broadway incarnation which captured every single ounce of Broadway magic you'd want. So, while the current production of this wonderful Irving Berlin classic at the 5th Avenue is a lot of fun and looks quite like the Broadway (not surprising since the sets and costumes were based on the Broadway designs) it just didn't quite live up to that spark of the Broadway for a few key reasons that we'll get to in a bit.

BWW Review: A Few Qualms but HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE from Book-It is a DelightBWW Review: A Few Qualms but HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE from Book-It is a Delight
December 3, 2017

Book-It Repertory Theatre already routinely manages the difficult task of presenting literature in the Book-It style and making it flow and engage in a theatrical way, but apparently they felt this challenge wasn't enough for them as now they've attempted to add in music to that mix with their new adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle , currently playing at the Center Theatre. And while the result is still quite delightful, the insertion of music and lyrics into an already dense story in the Book-It style may have made the story a bit over complicated at times.

BWW Review: More Raucous Holiday Hilarity with HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS: THE HAMCHURIAN CANDIDATE at ACTBWW Review: More Raucous Holiday Hilarity with HAM FOR THE HOLIDAYS: THE HAMCHURIAN CANDIDATE at ACT
December 2, 2017

Most people have that thing every year that signals the beginning of the Holiday season; seeing the lights downtown, that first pumpkin spice whatever, or braving the crowds on Black Friday. For me, the Holidays don't really begin until I get to enjoy my favorite annual show from Seattle treasures Peggy Platt and Lisa Koch, Ham for the Holidays . And their current incarnation, The Hamchurian Candidate currently playing at ACT certainly rang in the holiday season with a bang and a chainsaw and some aerobicize videos that I can never un-see.

BWW Review: Azeotrope's Brilliantly Horrifying BUILDING THE WALL is a Must See!BWW Review: Azeotrope's Brilliantly Horrifying BUILDING THE WALL is a Must See!
December 1, 2017

Lately friends have been asking me what shows I'm most looking forward to this holiday season. And while it's not a happy Christmas show I keep answering Building the Wall currently being offered from Azeotrope at 12th Avenue Arts. Then those friends look as me quizzically, I assume expecting some frothy musical or holiday classic at which point I say, the new play from Robert Schenkkan, who wrote All the Way and The Great Society about LBJ at which point those quizzical looks, rightfully, turn to ones of excitement and intrigue over another dose from a genius playwright. And now, Dear Readers, that I've virtually had the same conversation with you, you can understand why I tell you this is a play NOT TO MISS and how you MUST go get your tickets now. I'll wait. Did you do it yet? OK. Now on with the review.

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
November 30, 2017

Thanksgiving dinner is a tumultuous time for many of us as we attempt to spend an evening with our loved ones. Sure, we love our families but we don't always see eye to eye and as the wine flows and the turkey and yams fill our bellies, maybe our inhibitions and filters lower. That's the kind of dinner currently being served at the Seattle Rep as they host the beginning of the national tour of Stephen Karam's Tony Award winning play, The Humans . And while I love the tight dialog and raw honesty, the ending of the play does come across as a bit abrupt.

BWW Review: Decent Voices in Paramount's THE BODYGUARD but Not the Queen of the NightBWW Review: Decent Voices in Paramount's THE BODYGUARD but Not the Queen of the Night
November 15, 2017

In the latest in the spate of movies turned musicals with no new music to speak of to turn up in Seattle, following in the trend of Dirty Dancing or the egregious Flashdance , we've now been offered up The Bodyguard . And while the current offering didn't live up, or should I say down, to the aforementioned maniac , this romance shoe-horned into a Whitney Houston cover band didn't live up to the Queen of the Night either with its lackluster and stiff performances.



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