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

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  1. Calling all models: Tampa Bay Fashion Week is casting

    Blog

    Do you look like a model? Do you have modeling experience? OH, MUST BE NICE.

    Anyway, all jealousy aside, we wanted to let you know that Tampa Bay Fashion Week is holding an open casting call for models to walk in this year's runway show, strutting in the best locally-designed fashion in Tampa Bay. Casting is from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Art Institute of Tampa, 4401 North Himes Ave. in Tampa. Your arrival time is determined by your last name, so if you're A-I, come at 9:30 a.m., if you're J-Q, come at 10 a.m., and if you're R-Z, come at 10:30 a.m. If you can't make it for your block, come before 11 a.m. If you come past 11:30 a.m., you're out of luck....

    This could be you! One of the models from last year's runway show, shot by tbt*'s Luis Santana.
  2. Straz's Jobsite Theater a finalist for American Theatre Wing grant

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    The folks at Tampa's Jobsite Theater are feeling the glow of recognition at the moment, hopeful some money and prestige could be close behind.

    The resident theater company of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts is one of 40 national finalists in the running to be named a 2014 American Theatre Wing National Theatre Company, Jobsite announced this week.

    In its nearly 100-year history, the American Theatre Wing has become best known for creating and distributing the Tony Awards. But the organization also spearheads educational programs and gives out thousands of dollars in grant money each year....

    The Straz Center’s resident theater company is known for its risk-taking fare, such as a production earlier this year of Return to the Forbidden Planet.
  3. Mike Epps, Michael Che and Jo Koy bring laughs to the Mahaffey

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    Scoring the perfect comic mix on a single bill is a bit art and a bit magic. Tampa Bay is getting a lot of practice these days.

    We're fresh off the Funny or Die Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival, which brought the likes of Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari through town. The punch lines will continue this weekend with Wild 94.1's Shut Up and Laugh, which comes to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Friday with a smaller but still strong lineup of jesters....

    Mike Epps
  4. 'Divine Sister' brings funny nuns back to Stageworks

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    What the world needs now, is nuns, more nuns. And it's exactly what we'll get when The Divine Sister makes a short repeat appearance at Stageworks Theatre in Tampa this weekend. The satirical take on Hollywood films and faith by Charles Busch nods at a litany of old movies, including The Song of Bernadette, The Bells of St. Mary's, Agnes of God and The Singing Nun. The story follows Mother Superior, a Pittsburgh nun with a mission to build a new school for her convent, all while navigating a cast of problematic students and sexually hysterical sisters. Busch, known for writing such fare as Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, played the Mother Superior role in the show's New York debut. Locally, ever busy performer Matthew McGee tackles the habit in the show, which had a successful first run at Stageworks in February. Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the theater, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa. $30, (813)374-2416. stageworkstheatre.org....

    Matthew McGee plays Mother Superior in Stageworks Theatre’s The Divine Sister.
  5. Catch funny one-act plays at St. Petersburg City Theatre

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    Retirement, dogs, dating, kissing, monsters under the bed and chickens in the back yard are just a few of the topics tackled by the playwrights in St. Petersburg City Theatre's Evening of Summer Shorts, a series of 10 different 10-minute one-act plays. The top 10 selections were chosen from more than 500 submissions from around the world, with playwrights hailing from Tampa Bay to New Mexico. Harpist Micki Robinson will provide preshow entertainment in the lobby. Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Children younger than 12 are free with one adult each. 4025 31st St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 866-1973. spcitytheatre.org....

    In one of the “summer shorts” at St. Petersburg City Theatre this weekend, young actors appearing in Monsters Under My Bed are, from left, Sam Sneary, Jonah Henriksson, Annika Fuller and Adam Fuller. 
  6. 'Less' at the Studio@620 tackles the plight of homeless women

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    The drug addict. The kicked-out daughter. The military veteran. The mother.

    All homeless, all for different reasons.

    St. Petersburg actor Karleigh Chase is hoping to spotlight the unique plight of homeless women in Less, her new one-woman play running Friday through Sunday at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg.

    Chase, 22, is one of six young artists involved in Project GenYes! at the Studio@620, a grant-funded incubator program for millennials. Chase received a $1,200 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to produce Less, which she conceived as a student at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. ...

    Karleigh Chase wrote and directed the one-woman show Less, in which she portrays Leslie, who becomes homeless.
  7. Deal Diva pet peeves and advice for more pleasant shopping

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    Last week I had the honor of delivering the keynote speech at the Best in Biz Awards from LocalShops1, an organization that supports local shopping and small businesses in Tampa Bay, run by former Tampa Bay Times employee Ester Venouziou. Ester asked if I would deliver some pithy commentary from the point of view of an avid shopper and Deal Diva, giving tips to the store owners about what we like or don't like in our shopping experiences....

    When you're shopping, how close is too close? This close is too close.
  8. At Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival, or Comic-Con, Chris Hardwick stays close to home

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    Chris Hardwick, who is super-into lots of different things, had to focus. He is on the lineup for Funny or Die's Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival on Friday in Tampa, slinging jokes with Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Marc Maron and more. They're his friends, he said. It will be like "comedy camp." But this event takes the kind of focus that runs counter to Chris Hardwick's blanketlike brand. He'll be on the same stage where Bruce Springsteen performed, in an arena that holds 20,000. He can't ruminate topic to topic. He can't nerd out with the audience. He has to speak more slowly, enunciating to the back row. "Comedy is typically a pretty intimate experience and so the energy, the stuff you can do in an arena is different than the stuff you can do in a comedy club," said Hardwick, who called to talk about the show. His set must cut to the quick of who he is. And who is Chris Hardwick?...

    SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 25:  Comedian Chris Hardwick attends the Samsung Galaxy VIP Lounge at Comic-Con International 2014 at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 25, 2014 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Samsung)
  9. Breaking down the talent at the Tampa's Oddball Festival

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    A rotating slate of comics are filling out the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival, which launches in Tampa on Friday before stops around the country. It drops some of the biggest names in comedy into a shaker and pours out a different cocktail each time.

    Who do we get? Joining Chris Hardwick at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday are Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Marc Maron, Brent Morin, Hannibal Buress, Jeff Ross, Reggie Watts, Brody Stevens and more. Let's take a closer look at a few oddballs on the lineup, and what makes their own brands so curious....

    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13:  Louis C.K. speaks onstage at Comedy Central's night of too many stars: America comes together for autism programs at The Beacon Theatre on October 13, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
  10. Review: 'Miracle on South Division Street' brings tastes of home

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    This is kind of a personal note, but it can't be avoided.

    Just a few minutes into Miracle on South Division Street at A Simple Theatre, and I was all, "Oh, man. Oh, Jesus. Yes. Oh, no."

    If you happen to spring from a working-class Polish Catholic family of the north, you will be making similar overtures in your seat, clasping your head and trying to figure out the last time you went to Mass....

    From left: Becca McCoy, Georgia Mallory Guy, Bonnie Agan and Stephen Ray tackle A Simple Theatre’s new production.
  11. At Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival, or Comic-Con, Chris Hardwick stays close to home

    Stage

    Chris Hardwick, who is super-into lots of different things, had to focus. He is on the lineup for Funny or Die's Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival on Friday in Tampa, slinging jokes with Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Marc Maron and more. They're his friends, he said. It will be like "comedy camp." But this event takes the kind of focus that runs counter to Chris Hardwick's blanketlike brand. He'll be on the same stage where Bruce Springsteen performed, in an arena that holds 20,000. He can't ruminate topic to topic. He can't nerd out with the audience. He has to speak more slowly, enunciating to the back row. "Comedy is typically a pretty intimate experience and so the energy, the stuff you can do in an arena is different than the stuff you can do in a comedy club," said Hardwick, who called to talk about the show. His set must cut to the quick of who he is. And who is Chris Hardwick?...

    HOLLYWOOD - AUGUST 6:  Actor Chris Hardwick arrives at the Lions Gate Home Entertainment DVD release party of "House of 1000 Corpses" at Club A.D. on August 6, 2003 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
  12. Freefall Theatre's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' a devastating ride

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    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a moment in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest that will make your heart rate speed, make your fingers curl around the arms of the chair, and you won't know exactly why.

    Then you'll realize that the mammoth and silent Chief Bromden has been standing over the room like some kind of prehistoric monument while the other characters ping dialogue, swishing his broom slowly, then faster, faster, swish, swish, swish across the dusty floor. Then as the talking stops, the swishing stops....

    The men in the ward get together to watch a baseball game after a period of negotiations with Nurse Ratched in Freefall Theatre's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. From left to right, Ward G. Smith as Cheswick, James Oliver as McMurphy, Michael Nichols as Chief Bromden and Peter Konowicz as Martini. Photo by Mike Wood Lighting
  13. Wedding Week: A wedding planner answers your wedding questions!

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    If you're planning a wedding, we hope your happy days are just beginning. Sadly, Wedding Week is coming to a close. We hope you had as much fun as we did!

    Throughout the week on the blog and Twitter (@dealdivas) you all have lobbed some questions our way. Rather than trying to pluck the answers out of thin air, we turned to an expert. Brooke Palmer Kuhl is an event planner based right here in Tampa Bay, president of RSBP Events. She has coordinated over 100 weddings, including her own. You should take a few minutes to read the Times story about the glittering affair at the Ringling. We can only begin to dream....

    The professional became personal when wedding planner Brooke Palmer married Craig Kuhl at the Ringling Museum of Art on March 15. Friends in the industry rose to the occasion to stage an extravaganza that some of the guests tweeted was “the wedding of the century.”
  14. See 'America's Got Talent' act Christian and Scooby at the Ringling w/video

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    Surely no one has any interest in watching a beefy young guy balance an adorably tiny dog in precarious places all over his body.

    Kidding! Of course you do! And you can see them this weekend at The Ringling's Summer Circus Spectacular, which wraps up Saturday.

    Christian Stoinev and his wee dog, Scooby, have been performing in the Sarasota show several times a day over the past few weeks, all the while getting a little bit famous on the tube....

    Christian Stoinev balances Scooby at the Ringling during his act, also on America’s Got Talent. See video at tbtim.es/5vw.
  15. A Simple Theatre keeps things simple in fourth season

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    While Gavin Hawk was managing student loan debt from his acting diploma at the Juilliard School, he owned just three pieces of furniture.

    A mattress on the floor. A 15-inch television. A Playstation.

    "Juilliard wasn't cheap," he said. "I wasn't upset about it. It was just the way it was."

    Tellingly, he chose to concentrate on sleep and entertainment. And around that time Hawk learned it was possible to live within your means and focus resources on what you love....

    A Simple Theatre’s Miracle on South Division Street features actors Becca McCoy, from left, Georgia Mallory Guy, Bonnie Agan and Stephen Ray. The play unfolds the tale behind a 20-foot Virgin Mary shrine in a family’s home.