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. Flamingo Resort is the latest place to see a play



    On a balmy Friday at the Flamingo Resort, folks reclined by the pool sipping juicy cocktails. Guests checked in after driving hundreds of miles to the mecca of fun they had read about online.

    And the desk phone rang with a relatively new request at the Flamingo: Play tickets.

    The cheeky tropical resort with a statue of a naked diving lady in the lobby is known as a getaway for gay clientele. The Flamingo has night clubs, drag shows, dancing, pool parties. But now, it's expanding into the cultural arena of theater....

    Lindsey Schroyer, left, Karleigh Chase, Yvelisse Cedrez star in the comedy Green Card Wedding Bridesmaid at Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg.
  2. Top talent to be honored at Theatre Tampa Bay Awards


    You go to the shows. You clap wildly. You go home and tell your friends. Here's your chance to support the artists who make local theater happen in person. Check out the Theatre Tampa Bay Awards on Monday at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. The show, produced by the area's professional theater alliance and hosted by Matthew McGee and Jonelle Meyer, will honor the best in local theater from a slate of eligible productions put on last season. The evening will feature performances, including one by Lulu Picart from the cabaret Disenchanted!, which appeared at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in the spring and was recently picked up Off-Broadway. And word is, guests will also witness a preview performance from Freefall Theatre's Into the Woods, which opens Oct. 11. The red carpet with Scott Daniel starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by the show at 7:30. An after-party will wrap up the night. Tickets are $25. Call (240) 462-6087 or visit

     Matthew McGee and Kari Goetz, 2012
  3. Meet the Tampa Bay finalists in Martha Stewart's American Made contest


    Congratulations to some local designers who are finalists in Martha Stewart's American Made contest. It's Queen Martha's attempt to recognize the best locally-made products around the nation, from fashion to food to crafts. Florida fared pretty well out of the nearly 1,000 finalists, and the bay area is well-represented, too....

    Tees from Sunshine Dye Dream.
  4. $10 suits and $5 clothes at Dress for Success sale this weekend


    There are many choice reasons to shop at the Dress for Success Tampa Bay excess inventory sale this weekend, not the least of which is the good cause you will be helping. Full disclosure, as I've mentioned, I volunteer for Dress for Success as a personal shopper. The organization connects disadvantaged women with clothes for job interviews and other professional resources they need to land and keep jobs, like computer training and networking. I could go on about that, but you can just read more here....

    The pink top was a DFS find, and I have no problem matching it with coordinating hot pink shoes, especially on a Friday.
  5. Florida Orchestra benefit honors young musicians

    Music & Concerts

    Classical music can be a young person's game. Here's a chance to hear some fresh talent and support the Florida Orchestra at the same time.

    The Florida Orchestra Musicians Association, a group that hosts charitable and educational events, will presents its fourth Annual Benefit Concert Friday featuring the winners of FOMA's 2013 Justine LeBaron Young Artist Competition honoring classical musicians younger than 22....

    Violinist Julia Hossain, a sophomore at Berkeley Preparatory School, will be a soloist in Friday’s concert.
  6. How to do your own 'Chopped' party at home


    When I put the monkey bread with Taiwanese prune reduction in the oven, the doubt set in. � Here I was, hosting an at-home Chopped dinner party, and things were culminating in a confection of horrors. The "monkey bread" needed a half-hour to cook, what with that gummy maze of crescent dough sliced with rivers of butter. I had 10 minutes left. � So totally Chopped. Food Network's popular contest show pits four chefs against one another, with baskets of mystery ingredients and a cruel clock. Chefs must transform the items, creating restaurant-quality meals from the pantry at Shawshank. � It is ridiculous. � It's the best show on television. � Why? A few reasons, which I'll get to. But the most powerful thing about Chopped is that it makes you cocky. It's when a chef on your TV has two minutes left, and he is trying to Cryovac a duck breast crusted in digestive biscuits, and you're screaming, "YOU HAVE TO RENDER THE FAT! WHERE DID YOU TRAIN, LE CORDON POO?" � It's thinking — no, it's knowing — that you can do it better. Certainly you would not be chopped. � I crouched down to the oven door and watched the dough start to sweat....

    Chef Stephanie’s entree, pitched as “an organic fish stick burger with a cherry-raspberry reduction.”
  7. 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....

    Photos of Crystal Hefner, who is designing a line for Tampa Bay Fashion Week. We interview her about the line.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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....

    Kato Kaelin! Yes, everyone's favorite couch surfer has turned fashion designer. We saw his collection with Rhonda Shear last year, and he'll be returning this year.
  11. 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....

    Dolly with her hat collection today in New York.
  12. 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

    Elizabeth Racker
  13. 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.
  14. 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?
  15. 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....

     The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Jobsite Theater in Tampa. PR photos for Jobsite Theater's production of The Last Night of Ballyhoo. (L-R) Suzy DeVore, Nathan Jokela, Emily Belvo, Ned Averill-Snell, Katie Castonguay, Jordan Foote, and Ami Sallee.   Photo courtesy Crawford Long.