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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. ...

    Adam Rennie as Nick Hurley and Karli Dinardo as Alex Owens in Flashdance the Musical.
  4. 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.
  5. 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....

  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. ...

    A brightly lit and colorful koi pond’s light is reflected off the water. Lanterns in the exhibit are handmade by artists from Zigong in China’s Sichuan province.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Review : Opera Tampa's 'Madama Butterfly' soars with sadness



    Ladies, a few things to file under "He's just not that into you": Not calling, not introducing you to the family, flirting with others.

    Here's another: Marrying you in Japan and then leaving for three years with no correspondence while he takes up with a blond Jezebel across the ocean.

    Oh, Madama Butterfly. Hers is a tale of devotion and sorrow, a timeless cautionary story for lovers tucked in an operatic masterpiece that explores East-West relations. And for opera, it's an unusual study in the nuance of everyday females, the men a secondary concern....

    Opera Tampa presents Madama Butterfly at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Pictured are Yunah Lee as Cio-Cio-San and Richard Troxell as B.F. Pinkerton. [Photos courtesy of Will Staples]
  14. Chico's shoes $10 in mega online sale. Yes, $10. Get there!


    I feel like I just emerged from some kind of fever dream where the time and space ceased to be.

    In a nearly inexplicable sale, Chico's is selling a whole bunch of shoes for $10. These are shoes that normally cost $100 and up. I just raged through this sale like a bull in Madrid, and I don't really even know where I am or what happened. If this is not a glitch, I am assuming they're just unloading their winter stock, so TAKE ADVANTAGE....

    This sassy Verna heel is $10 at Chico's online, JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHERS. GET IT.
  15. Michael Francis leads an all-Russian Florida Orchestra program


    Sometimes it takes some reaching to connect the esoteric dots of a particular classical concert. Other times, you get three luscious Russian pieces in a row. Indeed, it's an all-Russian extravaganza at the Florida Orchestra this weekend, in a program conducted by new music director Michael Francis. The program begins with Stravinsky's Petrushka, followed by Rachmaninoff's Isle of the Dead and Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini. There are other themes to be found in such tragic and romantic masterworks, of course, including life, death and love. Performances are at 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.