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. Hugh Hefner's wife Crystal Hefner talks about her line at Tampa Bay Fashion Week


    When you marry arguably the most famous wearer of pajamas in the world, the result seems inevitable.

    Crystal Hefner designed her own.

    The former Crystal Harris, 28, married Playboy impresario Hugh Hefner, 88, almost two years ago. Since then, she's dabbled in everything from designing swimwear to working as a DJ, but her latest pursuit is creating a line of lounge wear, pajamas, intimates and gym clothes that will hit the runway at Tampa Bay Fashion Week Wednesday night....

    Crystal and Hugh on Halloween last year.
  2. Weekend picks: Local theater, Jenny McCarthy and Jay Mohr


    Want to sit in a dark, cool room and let someone entertain you this hot September weekend? Thought so. Herewith, some picks from the performing arts iceboxes across town.

    mUh, did you need to fly?

    You know how it goes. You're hunting, aiming for ducks, and oops — you take out an angel. That's the premise of Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, which the Stageworks Theatre Impromptu Players will deliver in staged readings of on Friday and Saturday in Tampa. Duck Hunter is by Mitch Albom, the writer behind Tuesdays with Morrie. The ensemble of characters includes journalists, a gas station worker, a ghost and an alligator-man hybrid. Proceeds from the staged readings will benefit Voices for Children and the guardian ad litem program. Readings are at 8 p.m. at 1120 E Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. $25-$35. (813) 374-2416.

    Tom Scarritt; also standing in duck hunting gear behind and to the right of Tom is Harold Oehler; kneeling below Harold in Gator mask is Eddie Steiner, behind Eddie is Cathy Unruh; kneeling next to Eddie is Frank Robertson; behind Frank in the purple is Edward Gomez; behind Edward, in the flowing robes is Joshua Sussman; and on the far right holding camera gear is Chris Brown. Photo taken by Bernice Jensen.
  3. St. Pete Art & Fashion Week kicks off tonight


    Things are a-buzzing on the local fashion scene lately. We just wrapped up Haute Accessories Week and are getting ready to dive into Tampa Bay Fashion Week. But that's not all! If you want to focus your fashion pursuits in St. Petersburg, there’s an option that also weaves in other kinds of visual art. St. Pete Art & Fashion Week kicks off today and runs through Saturday at locations around the ‘burg....

    FANCY. Photo via St. Pete Art & Fashion Week.
  4. 7 tips for attending Tampa Bay Fashion week (plus a full schedule of events)


    Going into year seven, Tampa Bay Fashion Week’s organizers were feeling that familiar itch for change.

    Our local purveyors of style have tried different configurations since 2008 to see what works best. This year, fashion week has slimmed down to fewer days, and is plotted in reverse. The runway show featuring local and national designers (Kato Kaelin’s pajama line, anyone? Or one from Hugh's wife Crystal Hefner?) is on Wednesday rather than its normal spot on the weekend. Organizer Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency said the swap was an experiment to see if people get more energized for the parties coming off the high of the fashion show mid-week....

    Monstruosite by Dolly Donshey from Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2013.
  5. Check out the Monstruosité collection up close and personal


    We promised to update you on Dolly Donshey's luxurious trip to Nolcha Fashion Week in New York, and we will not fail. Dolly, whose studio is in Tarpon Springs, showed of her Monstruosité line of hats at the New York showcase for independent design talent to a room of fabulous people Tuesday. Her spring/summer 2015 collection, "The Rise of Ostara," has been under lock and key until now, so do yourself a favor and check it out....

    A showstopping butterfly piece on one of the Nolcha models.
  6. 5 tips for attending Tampa Bay Fashion Week


    Going into year seven, Tampa Bay Fashion Week's organizers were feeling that familiar itch for change. • Our local purveyors of style have tried different configurations since 2008 to see what works best. This year, fashion week has slimmed down to fewer days and is plotted in reverse. The runway show featuring local and national designers (Kato Kaelin's pajama line, anyone?) is on Wednesday rather than the weekend. Organizer Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency said the swap was an experiment to see if people get more energized for parties coming off the high of the midweek show. • The Deal Divas, the Tampa Bay Times' team of style enthusiasts, have attended most every fashion week, charting the evolution of our area's signature sartorial event. Along the way, we've learned a few things. Here are the Deal Divas' five tips for making the most of Tampa Bay Fashion Week. Follow the Deal Divas blog at

    Rhonda Shear Intimates 
by Rhonda Shear
  7. Last weekend to see 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' at Freefall


    The hottest ticket in town is officially the hardest to get.

    When One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest opened at Freefall Theatre in August, tickets started selling out so quickly that the theater extended the show's run. Now, all those shows have sold out, but there is still a tiny chance for you. Freefall will start a waiting list one hour before each curtain. If someone doesn't show, there's a chance you could snag the seat....

    Freefall Theatre’s production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest features Larry Alexander as Harding, Michael Nichols as Chief Bromden, Steve Garland as Dr. Spivey, Roxanne Fay as Nurse Ratched and James Oliver as McMurphy.
  8. Dressing up for the airport: A lost art?


    I have to give a quick standing ovation to this Slate column by J. Bryan Lowder, titled Take a One-Way Trip From Tatty to Natty: In defense of looking nice for your flight or train ride.

    The gist is, it's time to start dressing better when we travel. I couldn't agree more, and not just where men are concerned. Every time I go to the airport now, I make a game of counting how many pairs of Victoria's Secret PINK sweatpants I see, and I usually get bored with counting. You know the ones. Letters on the butt for days....

    Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman would never be caught dead in Victoria's Secret sweatpants at the airport. Why should you?
  9. Review: Jobsite's 'The Last Night of Ballyhoo' a funny take on Jewish identity


    Trying to explain the Last Night of Ballyhoo can get kind of convoluted, like, "It's about a Jewish family assimilating into Southern life in a changing era when the world was..."

    But it's not fully clear until the lights come up.

    There's a giant Christmas tree in this Jewish family's house. There's a star on top. Boo Levy gasps at her daughter, blithely hanging ornaments and singing The First Noel....

    From left, Emily Belvo, Ami Sallee and Katie Castonguay star in Jobsite’s latest play.
  10. Review: 'The Chosen' teaches valuable lessons at American Stage


    ST. PETERSBURG — Sometimes people loathe each other because they're supposed to. But do they really know why?

    "I don't understand why I wanted to kill you," one boy tells another after braining him with a baseball. "It's really bothering me."

    Maybe it's worth it to try to understand. The Chosen, a life-affirming play opening a new season at American Stage in St. Petersburg, attempts to unearth the humanity behind the unsteady walls humans build around each other....

    Howard W. Blake School of the Arts students Justin LeVine, left, and David Friedman.
  11. Local designer Dolly Donshey off to New York for Nolcha Fashion Week


    Local fashion fans!

    We're gearing up for Tampa Bay Fashion Week, which is fast approaching, but we just wanted to take a quick second to send well wishes to a local designer who is heading to New York next week. As we told you, Dolly Donshey, the milliner behind the Monstruosité line, was accepted to show her latest collection of hats in Nolcha Fashion Week, a New York showcase for independent designers. She invited me to her Tarpon Springs shop a couple weeks back to get a look at the collection before it shipped out. While I can't post full pictures yet lest I ruin the debut, check the slideshow above for the sketches and a detail shot....

    Just a little mini taste of the collection. We're awaiting the debut to post some more shots.
  12. 'Disenchanted' headed Off-Broadway with local actors


    In the grand tradition of fairy tales, this one is pointing toward a happy ending.

    Disenchanted, a musical comedy about fractured storybook princesses that ran at Tampa's David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in the spring, has officially made its way Off-Broadway in New York. And several local performers are going with it.

    Disenchanted will run for nine weeks at the Theatre at St. Clement's in New York, with previews starting on Nov. 26 and opening night on Dec. 4....

  13. Groundbreaking comedian Joan Rivers dies at 81

    Human Interest

    Click through clips of Joan Rivers slinging jokes today. Listen to her talk about bras and hot flashes and third wives.

    Uncomfortable? Good. She would have done her job once more. She would have asked "Can we talk?" and said something so rawly female, so stripped of pretense and polish it either made you squirm, tsk, or exhale relief because, like you, she was imperfect.

    There was something paradoxical about Ms. Rivers, who died Thursday after several days on life support amid complications from throat surgery. The groundbreaking comedian built a career as the ugly duckling, the Brooklyn Bridget Jones wearing her sagging chest on her sleeve. But she was always striving for distinction, whether in her nipped and tucked face, or in the unrelenting work she tackled in her half-century career....

    Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, shown in February, died Thursday after complications from throat surgery.
  14. Plays at American Stage, Jobsite Theater explore Jewish identity


    Theater is a pretty humanizing force. And though two plays opening this weekend explore specific Jewish experiences, their directors think they can connect with anyone who comes. • There's the idea of a son breaking free from family tradition in The Chosen at American Stage. Or the dynamics of an old-fashioned family of the South in The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Jobsite Theater. • It's a coincidence, but both plays kicking off new seasons at the theaters explore themes of Jewish identity. They're both set in the same era but in parts of the country bisected by cultural ravines. • The plays are coming at a relevant time, Tampa Jewish Community Center executive director Jack Ross said. Anti-Semitism is flourishing abroad and religious persecution is at the forefront of political consciousness....

    From left: Suzy DeVore, Nathan Jokela, Emily Belvo, Ned Averill-Snell, Katie Castonguay, Jordan Foote and Ami Sallee will perform in The Last Night of Ballyhoo, a story about a family assimilating into Southern Christian norms in 1939 Atlanta.
  15. My Haircut Tuesday: The Emmys chop


    Yes, it's Tuesday! And yes, this is a hair post and not an outfit post! But life is all about adventure, about being flexible, especially when it's a long holiday weekend and it benefits me, specifically.

    So, remember how we talked about that haircut that every third woman had on the Emmys red carpet? How I wanted it, but they all beat me to it?...

    Brunching with salon-fresh hair: An American Tradition. Photo by my pal and former Deal Diva Emily.