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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: 'Radio Golf' brings August Wilson pros to American Stage



    Everyone in Radio Golf is good, quite good. But Anthony Chisholm, in his delivery, tone, posture and on and on, is astounding.

    And no wonder. Elder Joseph Barlow is Chisholm's role, through and through. He received a Tony nomination for playing the character on Broadway. And fans of HBO's Oz will recognize him as prisoner Burr Redding.

    It's a joy to have talent like his visit American Stage for the theater's eighth installment of August Wilson's Century Cycle. He's not alone in his impressive credentials. Radio Golf is packed with veterans of Wilson plays, making this long but meaningful work resonate with impact....

    Radio Golf is the latest in playwright August Wilson’s 10-play Century Cycle at American Stage. It stars Kim Sullivan (front), Anthony Chisholm, Chrystal Bates, Alan Bomar Jones and “ranney.”
  2. Review: Florida Orchestra finds a match in 'Romeo And Juliet'


    TAMPA — Well, hey. Even a world-class orchestra can suffer the perils of the dreaded "technical difficulties."

    And so it came to pass Friday for the Florida Orchestra. While in the midst of Prokofiev's luscious suite from the ballet Romeo and Juliet, the lights went out. A set of blue Christmas bells and a gigantic red candy cane illuminated the stage walls.

    There was mumbling from the crowd in Ferguson Hall at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Christmas was clearly past and this was probably not a cool concert effect....

  3. 'The Book of Mormon' leaves no doubt at Straz


    TAMPA — Imagine this planet: Thousands of people in pressed theater clothes buy their Merlot and cappuccino from concessions, politely excuse themselves down the row and settle in to grin gaily while a village of Ugandans simulate how dysentery works out the back end.

    Somewhere, Trey Parker and Matt Stone count their money. The Book of Mormon, the South Park creators' genius musical tale of a Mormon mission gone awry, is back at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts for the second year in a row....

    Elder Price (David Larsen), center, and Elder Cunningham (Cody Jamison Strand) meets a new friend (Monica L. Patton) in The Book of Mormon.
  4. Florida Orchestra members recall unexpected moments with Yo-Yo Ma


    How to explain the magnitude of a Yo-Yo Ma performance? Playing with the superstar cellist is like riffing on stage with Bruce Springsteen. Like sparring with Muhammad Ali. Like foxtrotting with Fred Astaire.

    But ask anyone, and they'll explain: He's also a really nice guy.

    Ma makes his debut with the Florida Orchestra in a sold-out gala concert at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Jan. 31, performing Dvorak's Cello Concerto in a program led by Tito Muñoz with Dvorak's Carnival Overture and Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol. The affair benefits the orchestra's Music for Life fundraising campaign....

    Yo-Yo Ma makes his debut with the Florida Orchestra at a sold-out gala on Jan. 31, and the excitement is palpable. But although the in-demand cellist could be a diva, he has a reputation as a really nice guy.
  5. Florida Orchestra romances score from 'Romeo and Juliet'

    Music & Concerts

    Romeo? Romeo? Wherefore art thou, and all that? Tap into your inner Shakespeare at the next Florida Orchestra masterworks. The concert tackles Prokofiev's bold and lush score for the ballet Romeo and Juliet — not to be confused with Tchaikovsky's famous score of the same name. Also on the program are Barber's Mutations from Bach, followed by Copland's Piano Concerto featuring soloist William Wolfram and Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride Overture. Gerard Schwarz conducts. Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337 or

    Gerard Schwarz will conduct three Florida Orchestra concerts.
  6. American Stage's 'Radio Golf' the latest in August Wilson's Century Cycle


    Some say Radio Golf has the lightest tone in August Wilson's famed Century Cycle. But it was the last play Wilson wrote before he died, and he was certainly not light on things to say. • In his 10-play cycle, Wilson illuminates the experiences of everyday African-American people. But in Radio Golf, he branches into new and significant territory. • "For the first time, he really taps into not the common man, but now he also deals with the so-called upper echelon of black life, with Ivy League developers and all that," said Mark Clayton Southers, directing Radio Golf at American Stage in St. Petersburg. "It's a different language."...

    Radio Golf, the latest in playwright August Wilson’s 10-play Century Cycle at American Stage, stars, from left front, Kim Sullivan, Anthony Chisholm, Chrystal Bates, Alan Bomar Jones and “ranney.”
  7. My Outfit Tuesday: Making four eyes fashionable


    It's My Outfit Tuesday!

    Yes, I know that's all wrong. But we figured you were probably enjoying a day off yesterday, spending time with friends and family or taking in a MLK parade. And let's be honest: We all know you read this blog at work. It's our escape, too.

    Anyway, since we're breaking tradition anyway, today's post is less about clothes and more about facial accessories -- facessories? Glasses, I mean. I'm having an ongoing bout of uveitis which is a thing you can Google if you really like looking at pictures of gross eyes. Yeah, I didn't think so. Anyway, it has mostly healed, but the medicine for it has forced me out of my contacts and into my glasses for the next six weeks....

    Handy-dandy labeling with finger numbers. 1 or 2? Photo brought to you by selfie (no stick).
  8. Review: 'Buffalo Kings' charms with dark comedy, rich drama


    ST. PETERSBURG — Family-based stories are so effective because there are so many emotional rings to grab. Pick your character, pick your moment, pick your headspace.

    Natalie Symons' new play, The Buffalo Kings, offers the smorgasbord. There's the gay teen recovering from being beaten with hockey sticks in a hate crime. There's the old grandfather, slipping into the grips of Alzheimer's. There's the neurotic mother, barely hanging on as she tries to help her son. There's the 40-something brother who can't seem to get anything right, from his career to his marriage....

    The heart of The Buffalo Kings is in the family dynamics, like the nervos mother (Katherine Michelle Tanner, left) and the battered gay teen (Joseph Flynn).
  9. American Stage finds a new leader in Stephanie Gularte


    Days after American Stage fans celebrated a new slate of plays and musicals for next season (Spamalot in the park!), there is more news to cheer: a new leader.

    The St. Petersburg theater company named Stephanie Gularte its new producing artistic director Tuesday, after a nationwide search that brought in some 75 applications. She starts the job Feb. 24.

    Gularte comes from the nonprofit Capital Stage Company in Sacramento, Calif., where she was founding artistic director for more than a decade. She led the theater from infancy to a professional level, producing more than 80 plays from Anna Karenina to Enron. In 2014 she received a proclamation from the city for her artistic contributions....

    Stephanie Gularte will take on the role of producing artistic director at American Stage in St. Petersburg on Feb. 24.
Courtesy of American Stage
  10. Cocktails X Couture slips out of Fashion Week, back Saturday


    More on Cocktails X Couture, which Kameel mentioned in her roundup of events this week:

    If you're a fan of Tampa Bay Fashion Week and noticed the event missing from the most recent lineup, you're not crazy. The annual fashion show and fancy drink party at the Ritz Ybor was moved from Fashion Week in order to spread the fashion love through the months, reports tbt*'s Robbyn Mitchell. But good news -- the event is back Saturday. This year's event plays with notions of gender identity, and features drinks including the Gin Kardashian (not even Bruce Jenner could resist)....

    A model walks the runway at 2013's Cocktails X Couture. It's baaaaack.
  11. Patel Conservatory at the Straz marks 10 years of teaching arts


    Gabrielle Beach was 11 when her ballet teacher left for law school. The move left the young ballerina searching for a new dance home.

    When her family discovered the Dr. Pallavi Patel Performing Arts Conservatory, Beach was entranced. Her last studio didn't even have air conditioning, and here was a world-class venue visited by all sorts of famous dancers.

    "I automatically thought, 'This is a great place,' " said Beach, now 16 and training at the Royal Ballet School in London. "All the teachers were so caring and they really gave personal correction, and just generally wanted the best."...

    Ballet dancer Gabrielle Beach came to the Dr. Pallavi Patel Performing Arts Conservatory when she was 11 years old. Today the 16-year-old is training at the Royal Ballet School in London.
  12. Natalie Symons' 'The Buffalo Kings' brings family dramedy to Freefall


    In The Buffalo Kings, a 15-year-old hate crime victim finds healing with his grandfather, who is slipping slowly into Alzheimer's. • So when Natalie Symons describes her new play for Freefall Theatre as being partly a comedy, she gets the inevitable question: How? • "That's so interesting to me," Symons said. "It's about such dark subject matter. How can it be funny? But my philosophy is we can't know darkness without light. We can't know light without darkness. A lot of the comedy comes out of the pain."...

    The stars of The Buffalo Kings include Katherine Michelle Tanner, Joseph Flynn and Jenny Aldrich. In the play, a 15-year-old hate crime victim finds healing with his grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s.
  13. Get a sneak peek at Opera Tampa's season with New Voices


    Opera Tampa's season is fast approaching, but a preview of some of this year's talents comes Sunday. Four singers with roles in February's Rigoletto and March's Madama Butterfly will perform in New Voices in Concert, led by Opera Tampa maestro Daniel Lipton. See soprano Claire Coolen, (shown here) last seen in Opera Tampa's The Magic Flute, plus mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal, tenor Cody Austin and baritone Chad Armstrong. The concert is 2 p.m. at Ferguson Hall at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. $30. (813) 229-7827.

    Soprano Claire Coolen is one of the opera singers spotlighted in Opera Tampa’s New Voices concert at the Straz Center.
  14. Get to know Jennifer Koh, performing with the Florida Orchestra


    Classical fans were surely disappointed when world-class violinist Midori had to cancel her Florida Orchestra appearance due to her pregnancy. But they should be buoyed by her replacement, Jennifer Koh, performing in this weekend's masterworks concerts.

    A fellow child prodigy like Midori, Koh has become known for her skill, style and modern sensibilities.

    To get ready for the show, here are some fast facts about Koh:...

    Violinist Jennifer Koh is the soloist in the Florida Orchestra’s masterworks concerts.
  15. Taste the Rainbow: Deal Divas Golden Globes fashion recap


    Joan Rivers, God rest her soul, really nailed it when she said the stars had ceased the practice of looking ugly for attention, and RIP to the days of the Bjork swan dress and all that. Take last night's Golden Globes red carpet, where the majority of the walkers looked perfectly presentable, glam and stylish. Still, I sense a slight restlessness growing in the well-heeled masses, a swing of the pendulum back toward creativity. Sunday brought out just about every color imaginable (check out the back page of today's Tampa Bay Times A section for a delicious color rainbow display form designer Brittany Volk), and some daring choices, including bodice shapes and serpentine neckwear. It was a fun, unpredictable red carpet, even though no one appeared in a dress made of Oral B Glide and origami cranes....

    Like a bird to tinfoil, I'm mystified by the sparkling sides of this dress. It's a pretty serious plunge, but she can pull it off. This whole lengthy aesthetic reminds me of a dress I tried on in a boutique in Asheville this year. It was all long and flowing and had a low back and I pictured myself in it wandering through a field of flowers looking like I was 5-foot-10, and then I tried it on and remembered, OH RIGHT, THIS IS FOR OTHER PEOPLE. Those other people are Kate Hudson, so, good job being long.