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Jay Irwin News

 
BWW Feature: Top 10 Seattle Productions to Look Forward to in 2022 Photo BWW Feature: Top 10 Seattle Productions to Look Forward to in 2022
by Jay Irwin - Jan 11, 2022

It’s happening Dear Readers, it’s really happening! Theaters are starting to open back up. Well, they started last fall but now, with the new year, they’re really coming back strong. And so I thought we’d take a look at the Top 10 shows I’m looking forward to this year.

BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at ACT Photo BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at ACT
by Jay Irwin - Dec 10, 2021

Dear Readers, let’s set the way-back machine to 1976, when a fledgling theater, ACT, put up their inaugural production of “A Christmas Carol”. Now I don’t know if I was at that one, but I very clearly remember being taken to the theater at around 7 or 8 years old to see “A Christmas Carol” at ACT when they were still down in Queen Anne. I remember being awe struck by the wizardry they could create on stage. Leaning over to my mom and asking, “How did that ghost just walk through the wall?” and my mom, being a good theater Mom saying, “Shhh, I’ll tell you after.” And thus began my love for theater. Now, several decades and one hiatus due to the pandemic later and ACT is back with that staple of holiday fare. And it’s just as magical as it ever was with a few updates to keep it up to the times.

BWW Review: WONDERLAND at The Can Can Photo BWW Review: WONDERLAND at The Can Can
by Jay Irwin - Dec 6, 2021

Seattle’s Can Can brings back it’s holiday festival of magic and pasties with their dazzling “Wonderland”. But they’ve also brought back some blasts from the past with the return of favorite performers, Jordan Taylor and Madison Oliver, making this an evening with both old and new surprises.

BWW Review: A VERY DIE HARD CHRISTMAS at Seattle Public Theater Photo BWW Review: A VERY DIE HARD CHRISTMAS at Seattle Public Theater
by Jay Irwin - Dec 4, 2021

Everyone has their holiday traditions, Dear Readers. Whether it’s trimming the tree or eight nights of presents, or ice skating with the ones you love, these are important events that make our holidays merry and bright. Well, last year, like with so many, our holiday traditions got replaced by staying away from everyone and many events being shut down due to … well, you know. But I’m overjoyed to say that one of my favorite holiday traditions is back this year and just as insane as ever, the annual production of “A Very Die Hard Christmas” from Jeff Schell and the folks from The Habit. Now for some bad news, the show is already completely sold out. But all is not lost as I have it on good authority from Mark Siano, the producer, writer, director, composer, and narrator of the piece, that they have a waitlist of no show tickets each night. But we’ll get into the details of that in a bit, first, to the show.

BWW Review: WE'VE BATTLED MONSTERS BEFORE at ArtsWest Photo BWW Review: WE'VE BATTLED MONSTERS BEFORE at ArtsWest
by Jay Irwin - Dec 2, 2021

In Seattle we are blessed with an abundance of theatrical riches and none more welcome and prolific as composer and storyteller Justin Huertas. Ever since he burst on the scene in 2015 with the brilliant “Lizard Boy”, Huertas has continued to thrill audiences with his singular musical theater storytelling with shows such as “Howl’s Moving Castle”, “The Lamplighter” and “The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion”. Now he’s back at ArtsWest with his latest, “We’ve Battled Monsters Before” and, while it takes a bit of time to take off, it comes together nicely leaving the audience itching for more.

BWW Review: CHRISTMASTOWN: A HOLIDAY NOIR at Seattle Public Theater Photo BWW Review: CHRISTMASTOWN: A HOLIDAY NOIR at Seattle Public Theater
by Jay Irwin - Dec 1, 2021

With the return of theater, we now see the return of the holiday favorites. Seattle Public Theater has two such offerings, both a departure from the usual holiday fare. We’ll get to the second one, “Die Hard”, when it returns next week. But for now, we focus on the gem that is Wayne Rawley’s “Christmastown: A Holiday Noir”. With three new cast members, the show is just as fun and thrilling as before.

BWW Review: MEAN GIRLS at The Paramount Theatre Photo BWW Review: MEAN GIRLS at The Paramount Theatre
by Jay Irwin - Nov 17, 2021

Back in 2004, Tina Fey brought us the movie “Mean Girls”, a cute little teen comedy that could have been just another blip in a bevy of teen comedies were it not for the stellar writing of Ms. Fey and a killer cast. Because of that, the movie has become a bit of a classic in the genre. A shining example of how to do it right. Then Fey, along with husband Jeff Richmond for the music and Nell Benjamin for the lyrics chose to convert her classic into a Broadway Musical. They brought over all that stellar writing from the movie, and that’s part of the problem. The other part of the problem is that the new elements, the music and lyrics, don’t quite live up to the writing. So, what we’re left with is a faded carbon copy of the original that while still fun, isn’t quite as “Fetch” as the original.

Review Roundup: MEAN GIRLS Brings its 'Fetch' Tour Back to the Stage; What Are the Cr Photo Review Roundup: MEAN GIRLS Brings its 'Fetch' Tour Back to the Stage; What Are the Critics Saying?
by Review Roundups - Nov 9, 2021

Reprising their roles from the 2019-2020 season are Danielle Wade as Cady Heron, Megan Masako Haley as Gretchen Wieners, Jonalyn Saxer as Karen Smith, Mary Kate Morrissey as Janis Sarkisian, Eric Huffman as Damian Hubbard, Adante Carter as Aaron Samuels, Kabir Bery as Kevin G. and Lawrence E. Street as Mr. Duvall.

BWW Review: MASQUERADE at Can Can Photo BWW Review: MASQUERADE at Can Can
by Jay Irwin - Nov 7, 2021

Can Can keeps bringing the goods in show after show and their current show, “Masquerade” is no exception. But then why would it be when “Masquerade” features some of the best numbers from previous shows such as “Bon Bon”, “Peacock”, “El Dorado” and more. But even with all these hits from the past, they still manage to surprise with each new show.

BWW Review: WHAT WE WERE at Pony World Theatre Photo BWW Review: WHAT WE WERE at Pony World Theatre
by Jay Irwin - Oct 20, 2021

Like so many companies, Pony World Theatre was in the middle of rehearsals back in March of 2020 when everything shut down due to the pandemic. Now cut to October of 2021 and things are starting to happen again in the theater community and among them is Pony World’s second shot at the West Coast Premiere of Blake Hackler’s harrowing play, “What We Were”. And while the play is a tad predictable, it’s no less hard hitting especially with the powerful performances from the small cast.

BWW Review: ZOMBIE CHEERLEADERS RETURN at Can Can Photo BWW Review: ZOMBIE CHEERLEADERS RETURN at Can Can
by Jay Irwin - Oct 14, 2021

If you’ve been to the Can Can Culinary Cabaret, Dear Readers, you know pretty much what to expect. Amazing singers and dancers, high energy acrobatics, and loads of tantalizing flesh. You also expect to see Jonathan Betchtel, with his bawdy humor and gravity defying glutes, he’s been a staple there as the emcee for the past 15 years. So, you can imagine my surprise when I attended their current production of “Zombie Cheerleaders Return” and Jonny was nowhere to be found, instead having the evening helmed by their resident chanteuse, Jasmine Sim. And while this resulted in a very different show than I was used to, it was no less delightful.

BWW Review: AMBER from Washington Ensemble Theatre Photo BWW Review: AMBER from Washington Ensemble Theatre
by Jay Irwin - Sep 12, 2021

The 1970’s and early 80’s had a lot to set it apart but nothing more than the three D’s, Disco, Disease, and Denial. Even as the Gay rights movement was starting to put LGBT folks into the spotlight, their very existence was threatened by an insidious plague that seemed to target only them (mostly gay men), AIDS and HIV. A plague that was largely unmentioned by the country's administration. But they still found moments of exuberance and freedom within the Disco clubs. And this is what “amber”, an installation from Washington Ensemble Theatre aims to explore.

BWW Review: MARISOL from The Williams Project Photo BWW Review: MARISOL from The Williams Project
by Jay Irwin - Aug 16, 2021

There’s a pandemic raging across the world, the streets are filled with Nazis, thugs, and the mentally unstable out for blood, and big corporations want to take away your livelihood and cast you out for not being able to pay your bills. No, I’m not talking about the reports from last night’s 11 o’clock news but an all too familiar set of circumstances from a 1994 play, “Marisol” by José Rivera, currently being offered from The Williams Project. And while the circumstances of the play, as well as our own world, seem bleak, this outstanding production from the always amazing Williams Project can give us a little hope.

BWW Review: GLITTER GALA at The Can Can Photo BWW Review: GLITTER GALA at The Can Can
by Jay Irwin - Aug 10, 2021

Dear Readers, I have some amazing news for you. Everyone’s favorite denizen of bawdy jokes, killer moves and more skin than you can shake a tassel at, The Can Can, is back. And now bigger than ever. With their expanded cast, in their new space, and a blinding amount of rhinestones, their show signifying their resurgence from the pandemic, “Glitter Gala”, proves to be a welcome return to theater filled with tons of happiness.

BWW Review: HOW CAN I LOVE YOU at Ancient Lakes Theatre Festival Photo BWW Review: HOW CAN I LOVE YOU at Ancient Lakes Theatre Festival
by Jay Irwin - Jul 20, 2021

Dear Readers, as we inch back into the world of live theatrical experiences, the excitement to put out incredible art is palpable. And when you have a stunning outdoor venue such as the Cave B Winery Estates in George, WA, not to mention some of the A-listers of Seattle theater talent involved, that excitement can be overwhelming. But don’t let that excitement blind you to when a show just is not there, as was the case with “How Can I Love You” from Composer Rand Bellar and Playwright, Librettist, and Lyricist Vince Bryan.

BWW Review: THE CAMPFIRE FESTIVAL from The Williams Project Photo BWW Review: THE CAMPFIRE FESTIVAL from The Williams Project
by Jay Irwin - May 25, 2021

Dear Readers, it’s so good to be able to call you all that again. I’m so pleased to announce that live theatre has returned to the Seattle area. That doesn’t mean we’re completely back to normal, but it is a start, as The Williams Project has put together “The Campfire Festival”. And with its rotating slate of shows, they remind us of what we’ve been missing, and longing for.

BWW Review: WAD at ACT Photo BWW Review: WAD at ACT
by Jay Irwin - Mar 25, 2021

The lives of prisoners are a well-known trope for many dramas. The inmate and the Nun in the film “Dead Man Walking”, two unlikely allied prisoners and a figment in “Kiss of the Spider Woman”. The genre is visited time and time again as it’s a world few of us, thankfully, have experience in, opening all new doors of emotional stakes. However, you need to have those emotional stakes for it to work. Furthermore, those other examples work as they are conversations between people in the same room. Keiko Green’s virtual offering from ACT, “Wad”, however misses the mark on both of these aspects. With a method of communication that makes no sense and a non-existent story arc, the show amounts to an unengaging and often times infuriating evening only saved by two engaging actors.

BWW Review: ArtsWest Streams Some Familiar Holiday Delights with A VERY MERRY KRAKEN  Photo BWW Review: ArtsWest Streams Some Familiar Holiday Delights with A VERY MERRY KRAKEN TEA PARTY
by Jay Irwin - Nov 28, 2020

Dear Readers, I’m back! It’s been almost nine months since I’ve had the privilege of sharing with you the theatrical goings on in Seattle thanks to the restrictions of the pandemic. And while I hope everyone is staying safe, and I know there are bigger things out there to concern ourselves, I have lamented the loss of live theater every day. I’m sure, like me, many of you have sated your theatrical fix somewhat with the virtual fare streaming from all over the world, but there’s been nothing locally for me to review for you (at least no one asked … until now). As we all digest our respective Thanksgiving dinners and prepare ourselves for socially distant holiday celebrations, the folks at ArtsWest have put out a little holiday cheer. An early Christmas present, if you will, in the form of a mini-musical from the mind of Justin Huertas, writer of such shows as “Lizard Boy” and “Howl’s Moving Castle”, with “A Very Merry Kraken Tea Party”, a sequel to last year’s “The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion”.

Review Roundup: JITNEY at Seattle Rep - What Did the Critics Think? Photo Review Roundup: JITNEY at Seattle Rep - What Did the Critics Think?
by Review Roundups - Mar 10, 2020

Seattle Rep presents the Broadway production of August Wilson's Jitney in the Bagley Wright Theater, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

BWW Review: Seattle Rep's JITNEY Brings in the Power of Age and Experience Photo BWW Review: Seattle Rep's JITNEY Brings in the Power of Age and Experience
by Jay Irwin - Mar 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.

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