Stephanie Hayes, Times Performing Arts Critic

Stephanie Hayes

Stephanie Hayes is the performing arts critic for the Tampa Bay Times, covering plays, musicals, classical music, dance, comedy and more. She also blogs about fashion for the Times' style blog, Deal Divas. She started writing for the Times in 2003, covering everything from suburban politics to zoning to snack foods to Britney Spears. She wrote the Times' feature obituary column, Epilogue, and went on to work as a general assignment reporter, entertainment reporter and higher education reporter. She grew up near Cleveland and graduated from St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida.

Phone: (813) 226-3394


Twitter: @StephHayes

Blog: Deal Divas

  1. Review: 'Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella' sparkles for a modern crowd


    TAMPA — Much has been made about Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella being a revised feminist fairy tale fit for a new generation.

    Indeed, our sooty heroine is much smarter here, and she falls in love with the prince as a person rather than a throne. She's interested in the democracy of her kingdom. And in a twist, she takes control over that whole glass-slipper incident.

    That said, there's still a wedding dress large enough to rival Princess Diana's. And there's still the over-arching notion that for the ladies of the town, ultimate happiness hinges on snagging a man....

    Paige Faure as Cinderella in "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella,"on tour. (AP Photo/Allied Live, Carol Rosegg)
  2. Florida Orchestra's Michael Francis talks making music and a home

    Music & Concerts

    Michael Francis was relieved. His books had just arrived from overseas.

    The British conductor was starting to plot a life here as music director of the Florida Orchestra. He had spent the weekend with his pregnant wife, shopping for furniture to fill their new Land O'Lakes home, visiting Bed, Bath & Beyond, narrowly avoiding Ikea.

    But to Francis, the reading materials were as vital as tables and chairs. There were magazine pieces on Barber, the book on Copeland and the Great Depression, the biography of Mozart …...

    British conductor Michael Francis’ three-year contract starts in the 2015 season. His local ties run deep; his wife, Cindy, is from Lutz.
  3. Remembering Oscar de la Renta


    "I'm not interested in shock tactics. I just want to make beautiful clothes."

    So said Oscar de la Renta, the iconic fashion designer who died Monday at 82 after battling cancer. It was one of many quoteables from the man with a unique ability to make old-fashioned glamour feel fresh, who informed the way American women dress today.

    He outfitted everyone from first ladies to movie stars, wrapping Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lawrence and Amal Alamuddin in his lacy, figure-flattering confections. The gowns were always ladylike, always achieving some equilibrium of sleek and dainty. His power to balance a ballgown skirt with a chevron stripe was arresting, not distracting. In an era where sweatpants at the airport reign, he stood for getting dressed. He walked the walk in his tailored pinstripe suits and colorful pocket squares....

    Oscar de la Renta in 2008.
  4. Review: St. Pete Opera's 'Pagliacci' perfect balance of buffoonery, drama



    Opera is not known for its subtlety, but Pagliacci might be the least subtle of them all. It's also one of the most fun.

    Not that it isn't tragic. Pagliacci is super tragic. There are cheating spouses, crazy hunchbacks making passes at women, whips, creepy clown makeup, the term "vile harlot," and of course, significant stabbing.

    Pity whoever needs more to be entertained. St. Petersburg Opera Company's production of Leoncavallo's Italian opera hits a perfect balance of buffoonery and drama, delivered with dynamite vocal work and lush instrumentation from the orchestra....

    Kaneklides, left, with soprano Kristin Vogel as Nedda.
  5. Review: 'Nureyev's Eyes' illuminates the artist life


    If the eyes are the hardest thing for an artist to capture, breaking through the surface and into the soul is the challenge for Nureyev's Eyes.

    The play premiering at American Stage in St. Petersburg is based on a true story. It ventures inside the unlikely and at times contentious friendship between Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and American artist Jamie Wyeth.

    Wyeth did a series of studies of Nureyev in the 1970s, and playwright David Rush was inspired to imagine their relationship after seeing a museum exhibit of Wyeth's work. Rush's play has been performed in staged readings, but this is the first full-scale production for Nureyev's Eyes, directed by Darin Anthony....

    Jed Peterson, left, plays dancer Rudolf Nureyev and Hughston Walkinshaw plays painter Jamie Wyeth in a compelling friendship.
  6. Coupons? Cords? Giving your makeup bag a second life


    Recently I was chatting with Times managing editor Jennifer Orsi about the plight of the makeup bag. If you're a makeup-wearing human, you probably also have an abundance of these lying around your house, whether from free Clinique or Estee Lauder gifts with purchase, or from a subscription service like Ipsy. They always seem fun to get when they arrive, but then, it's like, what do you DO with them? ...

    One of my ipsy bags, not the designated purse coupon holder.
  7. Top Florida Orchestra leader leaves for new role


    One of the top officials at the Florida Orchestra is leaving the organization for a job that involves her lifelong love of animals.

    The orchestra's chief operating officer Stephanie Gonthier will stay on with the orchestra through Dec. 26, she confirmed Thursday. At that point, she will transition to a job as regional hospital administrator for BluePearl Veterinary Partners, leading a group of specialty and emergency animal hospitals with more than 400 staff members....

  8. Review: Bombastic tales abound in 'The Apocrypha of Theodore Roosevelt'


    TAMPA — It's election season. If you're feeling disillusioned with the candidates and yearning for the hearty political chutzpah of the past, look no further than Theodore Roosevelt.

    The former president once got shot in the chest, narrowly cheating death when the bullet hit the dense speech stored in his jacket. Then he went on to deliver the speech for 90 minutes while bleeding onto the podium....

    Actor is Ned Averill-Snell. performs in The Apocrypha of Theodore Roosevelt from Tampa Repertory Theatre.
  9. Cheat sheet for opera season: Pagliacci, Madama Butterfly and more


    Opera is dramatic. Opera is tragic and funny, full of betrayal and steamy passion. Opera is big and bold, dripping with emotions sung to the last row. • But is opera outdated? Is opera difficult to understand? We think it's easy if you try. • A new opera season is opening this month, setting off a string of productions from St. Petersburg to Tampa to Sarasota that prove the glamor and aesthetic of classical opera holds up today. And let's be honest — mankind has appreciated a little nefarious backstabbing in our entertainment from the dawn of time. Just look at Lifetime movies. • Need help with the details? Here's a crib sheet to tuck in your sleeve during some of the operas you'll see this season....

    Mark Rucker performing the title role in Rigoletto, coming to the Straz.
  10. A modern 'Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella' comes to the Straz


    The Cinderella we know is kind of a drip, isn't she?

    She doesn't do much to help herself. A fairy godmother appears in a gourd field to save her. She falls in love with a prince, who, let's be honest, is also kind of a drip. Then, in a total rookie move, she loses her shoe and waits for him to save her.

    For all these reasons, Douglas Carter Beane turned down an offer to write the book for a Broadway version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella....

    Paige Faure, Andy Jones and the company in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. It opens at the Straz Center on Tuesday.
  11. Three things to know about 'Nureyev's Eyes' at American Stage


    This play could be what you call a total artistic experience. It has acting. It has visual art. It has dance. And it also has a limited run of just two weeks. Here are three things to know about Nureyev's Eyes, opening this weekend at American Stage in St. Petersburg.

    1. It's based on a true story

    It tells the story of American painter Jamie Wyeth, who did studies of Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev in the 1970s. Playwright David Rush saw an exhibit of Wyeth's work and got inspired to write about the men, what their times together must have been like. Wyeth gave his permission, as well as leeway for Rush to imagine....

    Jed Peterson, left, portrays Rudolf Nureyev to Hughston Walkinshaw’s painter Jamie Wyeth.
  12. My Outfit Monday: A night at the orchestra


    Culture in 5... 4... 3...

    My day job here at the Times is covering the performing arts. Friday night I went to the opening of the Florida Orchestra's new season, with Deal Diva Katie as my date. It's always fun going to the Straz Center in Tampa, a chance to yank my slightly dressier wares from the back of the closet and take them out for an apertif.

    This time I wore a maroon v-neck dress by Kenneth Cole, last sported on New Year's Eve. This is one of those dresses that displays a lot of, ahem, décolletage, so I don't wear it all that much. But I do feel confident in it and, heck, it was Friday night and I'm not a nun! Caution to wind! I paired it with Adrienne Vittadini nude strappy heels and a BOGO statement necklace from Forever 21, because we Deal Divas gotta keep it real, keep it real cheap....

  13. Review: Freefall's 'Into the Woods' is a wild ride for the imagination


    ST. PETERSBURG — Just how gigantic is Into the Woods? A sample lyric:

    "There are giants in the sky! Big tall, terrible giants in the sky!"

    This is meant quite literally. Jack, a slotted spoon of a boy, has gone up a bean stalk and discovered wealthy and spiteful giants living above. And when theaters do Into the Woods, they often approach it quite literally, with complicated moving sets that drop beastly heads on stage....

    Katie Berger as Little Red Riding Hood
  14. Review: Florida Orchestra goes confidently into new season


    TAMPA — There's magic in imperfection.

    Take John Adams' Lollapalooza, a piece so clanky, so obsessively repetitive and just so slightly off, it has you bracing yourself in the best way. The low brass instruments groan, building to an unwieldy knockout punch that finally comes on the timpani and bass drum.

    Friday, someone in the crowd went, "Woo!"

    With that, the Florida Orchestra soared into a new season at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, presenting a soul-stirring and uneasy program. You could call it triumphant, but that would defeat the more challenging point. This stuff makes you think....

  15. Pianist Peter Serkin cancels Florida Orchestra appearances


    American pianist Peter Serkin has canceled his performances with the Florida Orchestra days before he was slated to open the new season.

    Serkin, 67, canceled due to illness, the orchestra announced Wednesday. New York City pianist Shai Wosner will step in on the same program Friday through Sunday, which features Adams' Lollapalooza, Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, conducted by Joshua Weilerstein. It's the first program of the orchestra's 2014-15 season....