Make us your home page

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: Robin Givhan's new book is a fashion education


    Do you like fashion? Do you like glittering runway shows in Paris? Do you like designers being super passive-aggressive to each other in a totally entertaining way?

    Then, you'll LOVE Robin Givhan's book, The Battle of Versailles. I had the chance to review the Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion writer's latest work for the Tampa Bay Times, and it was a blast. The book tells of a fashion showdown in France in 1973, pitting established French couture designers against spunky Americans. A bunch of new black models never before seen on the stodgy French runways made the event not only a fashion touchstone, but a moment of cultural significance....

    Black models with a dance sensibility were just one of the surprises that five American designers brought to a legendary fashion show at Versailles in 1973. Courtesy of Flat Iron Books, image by ?Alain Dejean/Sygma/Corbis
  2. Review: Robin Givhan's 'The Battle of Versailles' a riveting fashion history


    It's difficult to tell people who don't care about fashion why fashion is worth caring about. Why it's more than pretty clothes and shallow vanity. Why it speaks to an ever-shifting tableau of social strata, race, international politics and so on.

    As a result, some fashion books exist vaguely on the surface, skating a stiletto around any meaningful semblance of depth.

    Good news. Robin Givhan, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for her Washington Post fashion criticism, has done the hard work. In The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled Into the Spotlight and Made History, Givhan distills cogent points about fashion against a backdrop of one real-life glittering showdown in Paris....

  3. Asolo Rep explores Nilo Cruz's 'Sotto Voce'


    You might know of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Anna in the Tropics, which playwright Nilo Cruz set in Ybor City. Expand your repertoire with Sotto Voce, Cruz's tale of love playing at Sarasota's Asolo Theatre through April 26. The show examines the life of a German-born novelist who lost her love during World War II, and the young Jewish-Cuban writer who wants to tell the story years later. (941) 351-8000. ...

    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08:  Nilo Cruz (L) and Anita Yavich attend the "Venus in Fur" Broadway opening night at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on November 8, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
  4. Trumpeters play in a benefit for MAD Theatre of Tampa


    Isn't it lovely to see a teacher and his former student working together as pros? It will happen when Thomas Hooten, principal trumpet for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, plays alongside one of his former teachers, Robert Smith, principal trumpet for the Florida Orchestra. Pianist Rebecca Wilt joins the musicians on a program of Vivaldi, Bohme, Honegger and Rachmaninoff to benefit MAD Theatre of Tampa. Hooten, a Tampa native and University of South Florida graduate, is the son of MAD's president, Cathy Hooten. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 509 E Twiggs St. in Tampa. $20. (813) 624-2003.

    Thomas Hooten is principal trumpet for the L.A. Philharmonic. He joins former teacher Robert Smith of the Florida Orchestra.
  5. Get $25 off new spring arrivals at LOFT


    It can be easy to get a little overly mired in winter clothes this time of year, because all the stores are unloading their stock to make way for spring. The sales are too good to pass up, and I can tell you all about this having just bought several boots and a velvet romper on deep seasonal discounts. 

    That said, it's always great to see a sale on things that are brand new, like the fine flowers sprouting from the willing ground below (TAKE THAT, POETS). LOFT is on it, offering $25 off new arrivals, including this cute scalloped pink dress (especially love the back detail), regularly $89.50, and this "pleated lady skirt," (they said it, not me), regularly $69.50. No code needed for this sale, only the optimism that spring brings....

    She's a lady. Oh, oh, oh, she's a lady, in this so-called "pleated lady skirt." Good job with the names there, LOFT.
  6. Three picks: 'To Quiet the Quiet,' Gasp! and 'Flashdance'


    To Quiet the Quiet

    I toured the new Murray Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall recently, and, as promised when the $1.3 million project began in the fall, it's a vast improvement from the old space. The box office is in a more obvious place. The doors now open in the back, not next to the stage. The seats (no more squeaks!) can be configured in the black-box theater any which way, including cabaret-style. And there are lots of nice interactive elements for the students at the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts. The theater, named for late supporter Ray Murray and his wife, Nancy, will give Ruth Eckerd a chance to experiment with all kinds of programming, including a resident theater and a rotating slate of regional productions. ...

    Daniel Funk eats fire as a part of Gasp! 2014.
  7. Florida Orchestra guest conductor cancels after landing role in Wesley Snipes pilot


    A cancellation is never fun news for the Florida Orchestra. But in this case, there's a pretty fun reason.

    Damon Gupton has canceled jobs guest-conducting next week's coffee concerts with the Florida Orchestra because he landed a role in the upcoming NBC pilot Endgame, a Las Vegas drama starring Wesley Snipes.

    How's this for a full resume? In addition to conducting for orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, San Diego Symphony and Florida Orchestra, Gupton is an actor who plays Detective Calvin Walker on the hit Fox show Empire and played district attorney Adam Page on WE TV's The Divide. Maybe you also saw Gupton in movies including 2014's Whiplash, 2007's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and 2002's Unfaithful....

    “Absolutely honored to be in the “Endgame” pilot with Mr. Wesley Snipes #starstruck,” actor-conductor Damon Gupton tweeted.
  8. Review: Florida Orchestra gets inside a child's mind with Mahler


    TAMPA — It's no wonder adults try to get in the heads of children, to recall how it felt to dream big without the realities of maturity bugging you.

    The latest Florida Orchestra masterworks program, conducted by Cristian Macelaru, gave the audience three chances Friday night at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. The main event was Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 4, a thrilling four-part vision of the afterlife that ends in the eyes of a child....

  9. Review: 'Motown the Musical' serves up a hit parade at the Straz


    TAMPA — The big uh-oh came in the second act of Motown the Musical. Diana Ross, clad in a sparkling white gown, slunk off the stage and into the audience. It was participation time.

    She beckoned two guests from the crowd at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts to sing a line of Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand). Jill from Tampa and Donnie from St. Petersburg gave it all they had. Then Diana Ross told everyone in the crowd to grasp hands with their neighbor and sway in time....

    The cast of Motown the Musical is hard-working and graced with serious voices, as they have to be to play characters like Diana Ross. Expect a bit of cheese, though.
  10. Remembering Tampa Bay fashion designer Kimberly Hendrix


    Rest in peace, Kimberly Hendrix, who died March 11 after a battle with cancer. 

    Here's the full story I wrote about her for the Tampa Bay Times. I got to meet Kimberly a handful of times, and always found her so sweet, kind and effortless. And her k.hendrix collections that went down the runway at Tampa Bay Fashion Week were always just heads and shoulders above the rest. Her stuff was gorgeous, things I wanted to wear. "Aspirational," is how her friend and Tampa Bay Fashion Week organizer Nancy Vaughn described Kimberly's pieces to me....

    Kimberly Hendrix holding one of her creations at a Chamber of Commerce event a couple years ago.
  11. Experience Chinese treasures and tradition at Lowry Park Zoo's Zoominations



    The thing about the lanterns is, they deserve a second look. First a wide-eyed stare, and then a focused squint. What do you really see?

    The 30 Chinese lanterns illuminating Lowry Park Zoo for the visiting Zoominations festival are stunning on first glance, colorful as rainbows at a Las Vegas after party, dotting the grounds of the zoo and twinkling high into the sky.

    But when you get close, you really notice the materials, the pagoda made of 68,000 ceramic cups, bowls, spoons and plates, the mythical creatures made of tiny bottles of water, the delicate brush strokes that turn this ancient Chinese art form from glittering spectacle into something worthy of artistic appreciation. ...

    The Temple of Heaven lantern will be the site of nightly performances by Chinese acrobats.
  12. Joshua Bell talks music, education and his 300-year-old violin


    Joshua Bell, one of the most famous violinists in the world, also has one of the most famous violins.

    It's a 300-year-old Stradivarius called the Gibson ex Huberman, an impeccable instrument stolen twice in its storied life. Bell paid $4 million for it, and it goes everywhere.

    Surely it would start to talk to you, right? Like Tom Hanks' volleyball in Castaway?

    Bell laughed. And then, he kind of agreed....

    Known for his personality and virtuosity, Joshua Bell, 47, has recorded more than 40 albums and garnered accolades from the Avery Fisher Prize to an Academy Award nomination.
  13. Soprano Talise Trevigne to join Florida Orchestra to make Mahler more heavenly


    What could make Mahler feel even more profound? It could be adding vocals to the mix. Soprano Talise Trevigne (shown) is the guest soloist for the Florida Orchestra's latest masterworks concert this weekend. The program conducted by Cristian Macelaru includes Strauss' Serenade for Winds, a romantic mix of 13 wind instruments; Barber's ode to rural summers, Knoxville: Summer of 1915; and finally, Mahler's Symphony No. 4, where we learn through the singer what heaven must look like to a child. Performances 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.

    Talise Trevigne
  14. Review: 'Gutenberg! The Musical!' at American Stage full of subversive laughs


    ST. PETERSBURG — Watching Gutenberg! The Musical! (both exclamation points essential) felt like snickering in the back of geometry class when something is obviously really funny. Like, teacher-has-pants-on-her head funny.

    Come on, guys! Why aren't you laughing?

    The Sunday afternoon audience didn't quite know what to think of this hilarious, subversive show at American Stage. The satire, directed by Steven Flaa, razzes every convention of musical theater, and the conventions of its fans. The crowd got into it more as it went along, thanks to the steady guide of heroic local funnymen Matthew McGee and Joey Panek....

    Gutenberg! The Musical! stars local funnymen Joey Panek and Matthew McGee.
  15. Designer Kimberly Hendrix leaves behind a love for life


    Kimberly Hendrix often rode her bicycle through the streets of St. Petersburg, platinum hair blowing all around. The fashion designer was known around town for her bohemian princess energy, her sequins and ripped denim, her barefaced ease.

    Her designs represented imperfection, of making the most of what already existed.

    Ms. Hendrix, 45, died March 11 after a battle with cancer. She spoke only occasionally of her illness, preferring to pour energy into her fashion line, k.hendrix. She wanted to leave the business in shape to benefit her 19-year-old son, Alex, and her 5-year-old daughter, Isabella, a blond-haired, blue-eyed miniature Ms. Hendrix....

    Kimberly Hendrix holds one of her designs at a Tampa Chamber of Commerce luncheon during Tampa Bay Fashion Week 2012.