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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

Email: shayes@tampabay.com

Twitter: @StephHayes

Blog: Deal Divas

  1. Deal Divas Gift Guide: Fashion books


    As professional writers, we're all pretty big book nerds here. And as fashion junkies, we're especially big nerds for fashion books. Sound like someone in your life? We wanted to list a few of the beautiful and interesting fashion reads that have arrived at DDHQ over the holiday season and throughout the year, perfect last minute gifts for the stylish reader in your life. It totally helps, by the way, that I sit next to the Tampa Bay Times book editor. We spend lots of time oohing and ahhing over the pretty pages that show up in the review pile. Why not you?...

    Tory Burch in Color
  2. Florida Orchestra to serenade the sick with free Moffitt concert


    When the musicians of the Florida Orchestra take their seats to play today, it won't be in a concert hall full of subscribers.

    Rather, in a simple yet meaningful concert, the orchestra will visit Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa to play a free show for patients, employees and anyone who stops by. It's the first sign of a shifting culture at the orchestra, one moving toward more community involvement....

    “This is very much what I believe to be an important aspect of an orchestra. . . . To make music not just a form of entertainment, but something that is so utterly intrinsic and necessary.” Michael Francis, 
incoming conductor
  3. Three questions for opera star Elizabeth Futral, coming to St. Pete Opera


    Elizabeth Futral has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, at Carnegie Hall and all around the world. She's been everyone from Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire to Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare to Musetta in La Bohème.

    But the coloratura soprano was just Elizabeth when she happened to meet St. Petersburg Opera Company maestro Mark Sforzini in Virginia. The two had dinner, and he invited her to be a soloist in St. Pete Opera's annual Seasonal Sparkle concert. Futral has family in Clearwater and Brandon, so the opportunity had a built-in holiday vacation....

    Elizabeth Futral, 51, who lives in Roanoke, Va., has family in Clearwater and Brandon, so her visit will also be a holiday vacation.
  4. Touring 'A Christmas Carol' comes through Ruth Eckerd Hall


    There's certainly no shortage of A Christmas Carol productions this year. But Nebraska Theatre Caravan has been redeeming everyone's favorite Scrooge since 1979. The professional touring wing of the Omaha Community Playhouse brings its adaptation of Dickens' Christmas ghost tale to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday. $38-$78. (727) 791-7400 or rutheckerdhall.com....

    Matt Kamprath as Scrooge and Sarah Kloster as the Ghost of Christmas Past in Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s A Christmas Carol, which has been touring since 1979. It comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Monday.
  5. My Outfit Monday: Holiday swapping


    Remember that time we had an office clothing swap? How could you forget?

    Well, this weekend we saw the spoils of our efforts play out in real life. Each year, some of the talented female journalists at the Times get together for a cookie exchange in which we all attempt to bake gourmet sweets to varying degrees of success. The best part of the event is the storytelling that accompanies each recipe, i.e., that time I tried to make peppermint bark and it turned out gray....

    Posing outside the cookie exchange in the gorgeous Florida December weather. Does not suck.
  6. Incoming Florida Orchestra conductor Michael Francis welcomes a daughter

    Music & Concerts

    A special package has arrived just in time for the holidays.

    Michael Francis, the incoming conductor of the Florida Orchestra, and his wife, Cindy welcomed their first child at 12:21 a.m. Thursday, according to the orchestra.

    Annabella Grace Francis weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces. An email from orchestra president Michael Pastreich reported that mother and baby were doing well and that Francis is "both relieved and joyously happy."...

    Michael Francis, new dad.
  7. Interview with Cameron Mackintosh: Why 'Phantom' needed to change



    The most successful theater producer in the world could have been anyone, smiling and avuncular in a khaki vest. He mazed through the Broward Center for the Performing Arts with fingers clasped around a Starbucks cup.

    He was days from escaping to a mountain vacation. But Cameron Mackintosh did not get to be Sir Cameron Mackintosh by ignoring details, and the results speak for themselves....

    Cameron Mackintosh, pictured at Prince Edward Theatre in London, has produced many of the world’s biggest musicals, from Miss Saigon and Les Misérables to Cats, during his 50 years in theater. Photo by Tolga Akmen/TNS (2013)
  8. Take 30 percent off at Gap through Sunday


    If you're scrambling for a last minute holiday party dress, don't neglect everyone's favorite pants and crew neck sweater provider, Gap. Today through Sunday you can lop 30 percent off regular price items with the code SHOP. Check out a couple cute options above.

    And once again, I'll wheel out my annaul sermon about Gap's Perfect Trouser, the greatest pants of all time. If you're short like me, the ankle length is perfecto. A Christmas miracle....

    We could see feeling fancy in this colorblock tank fit & flare dress, $79.95 before the discount.
  9. Florida Orchestra releases first holiday CD

    Music & Concerts

    If you're doing the local thing this holiday, buying local handicrafts and serving local veggies on your Christmas platter, don't forget about the music.

    The Florida Orchestra has released a recording of its 2013 holiday pops concert, Holiday Pops Live. It's the first album on the orchestra's new record label, TFO Live.

    Principal pops conductor Jeff Tyzik led the orchestra and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay in three performances last December. The resulting CD is a fun holiday romp with orchestral fullness. There's Sleigh Ride with a funky mallet breakdown. There's Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas from Home Alone 2. There's Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's arrangement of The Nutcracker Suite....

    You can buy Holiday Pops Live!, recorded last year, online, at this year’s show or at the orchestra’s offices.
  10. Taylor Swift and Paddington Bear: Who wore it better?


    Here's a quick nugget of delight to wind down your Tuesday.

    Everyone's favorite wholesome and leggy pop starlet, Taylor Swift, took to her Instagram account to show off her chic yellow toggle coat and red hat. She could have been boring and left it at that, but instead, she offered a photo spliced with a shot of cuddly-wuddly Paddington Bear. Paddingtay's (see what we did there?) caption:...

    Well? Who wore it better?
  11. Florida Orchestra, Florida Wind Band offer Christmas concerts


    Fans of symphonic music have a wealth of options this week.

    The Florida Orchestra will present the coffee concert Symphony a la Carte at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Stuart Malina conducts crowd favorites including Rossini's William Tell Overture and Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. And don't forget the best part — free coffee and doughnuts before the show. $24-$42. ...

    Jeff Tyzik conducts the Florida Orchestra pops concerts.
  12. Philanthropist Ray Murray, who gave millions to Tampa Bay causes, dies at 85


    When Ray Murray and his wife walked into an arts event in Tampa Bay — or any event, really — he smiled and called everyone by name, hugging and kissing his way through the room.

    His warm personality, moral compass and professional connections made Mr. Murray one of the most prolific benefactors to the Tampa Bay community. The former chairman of the Florida Orchestra died Sunday after a battle with cancer, according to his colleagues. He was 85....

    Known for his affable nature, Ray Murray, left, with wife Nancy Murray, was one of the most prolific benefactors in Tampa Bay.
  13. Christmas sweaters that aren't even that ugly


    At this point in the Knitwear Zeitgest, ugly Christmas sweater parties have been executed to the point of near trend implosion. I'm starting to sense a growing backswing in the other direction.

    Rather than being cute because they are ironic, Christmas sweaters are becoming cute again just because they're cute. They're even -- dare we say? -- sexy. To prove the theory, one needs only to peruse this slate of Ralph Lauren models smoldering in holiday wovens. The only laughing you'll be doing is on the train to Paris with your male model boyfriend who is fearlessly owning a reindeer motif, you dig?...

    Reindeer gets super moody and full of ennui in this blue Christmas sweater by Heather B from Target, on sale for $48.99.
  14. Review: The Florida Orchestra delivers graceful world music


    TAMPA — A relaxed Florida Orchestra cruised through a lineup of luscious and sweet melodies that paid tribute to shifting styles of world music. Under the direction of gregarious principal guest conductor Stuart Malina, the musicians launched into their last set of Masterworks concerts before Christmas at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts on Friday.

    It was lullaby time at the gate, meant in the best possible way. Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin, which the composer created by smartly editing his original piano suite of six movements, was dedicated to friends who had died in war....

  15. Local arts leaders among top 30 professionals worldwide


    Two local arts leaders have been named among the top 30 professionals of the year by Musical America, the oldest magazine in the United States devoted to classical music. Michael Pastreich, president and CEO of the Florida Orchestra, and Mark Sforzini, artistic and executive director of the St. Petersburg Opera Co., were among 30 "profiles in courage," chosen from hundreds of nominees in the international performing arts community and noted for taking risks in their positions. — Times staff...

    Michael Pastreich is president of the Florida Orchestra.