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. Jenny McCarthy gets engaged to New Kid Donnie Wahlberg


    Today, two incandescent masses of blondness collapsed and formed a black hole of 1990s proportions, leaving trails of stunned 30 and 40-somethings across America dead in the wake.

    In other words, Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg got engaged.

    You remember them. Jenny ran around screaming on Singled Out. Donnie ran around bro-ing with the New Kids on the Block. For the past year, they've been a thing, and today on The View, where McCarthy is a co-host, she pulled her hand from under the table and flashed a giant yellow sapphire engagement ring. It's the second marriage for McCarthy and Wahlberg, who is also on the CBS show Blue Bloods....

    Jenny and Donny after the news.
  2. Jobsite's 'A Brief History of Beer' teaches hoppy history at New World Brewery


    You how sometimes you can't take your delicious alcoholic beverage inside a theater to sip during the show? This is not one of those times. In fact, Jobsite Theater's A Brief History of Beer takes place in a bar, New World Brewery in Ybor City. A Brief History of Beer, performed by Will Glenn and Trish Parry, is part theater, part lecture, part drinking game. The heroes ride their Quantum Pint Machine through space and time from ancient Sumeria to today to learn and teach all about beer. Performances are at 8 p.m. Sunday and April 27 at the bar, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7, free for Jobsite season ticket holders. To make reservations, visit or call (813) 229-7827....

  3. Review: Glitter, polish make 'Wizard of Oz' gleam on stage


    CLEARWATER — About the time Dorothy found herself in the precarious situation of having a pair of fine red pumps soldered to her feet, enraging an unstable green witch who wanted them for herself, my friend Lisa leaned in and whispered:

    "I never realized until now that The Wizard of Oz is about women fighting over shoes."

    This is what happens when you see something familiar out of context. You realize new things. You think about it differently. You make insights....

    Danielle Wade as Dorothy, Jamie McKnight as Scarecrow, Lee MacDougall as Lion, Mike Jackson as Tin Man. 
  4. Florida Orchestra to geek out with rePlay: A Symphony of Heroes video game show


    Back in the 1980s, the notion of an orchestra playing music from video games would have been laughable. A flute flourish when the duck bites it on Duck Hunt? A violin crescendo when Frogger rides a crocodile off screen?

    But not anymore. Modern video game music is getting a sophisticated treatment Saturday with rePLAY: Symphony of Heroes, a concert from the Florida Orchestra and the University of South Florida chamber singers. It's produced by Jason Michael Paul, whose show credits range from Luciano Pavarotti and the Three Tenors to the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda....

    The concert will feature music from God of War.
  5. 'Flashdance the Musical,' 'Jekyll & Hyde' top Ruth Eckerd Hall's Broadway season


    On the count of three, everyone run to the closet and grab a sweatshirt from the 1980s. Now, cut off the neck. Now, drape it flirtatiously over one shoulder. You're obviously ready for Flashdance the Musical.

    It joins the Broadway lineup at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall for the 2014-15 season, announced Tuesday. Flashdance the Musical (Jan. 24), tells the story of Alex Owens, Pittsburgh welder and risque nighttime dancer who dreams of making it big and being legit. You already know the Jennifer Beals movie from 1983, but rest assured the stage adaptation has all the song staples, including What a Feeling, Maniac and Gloria....

  6. Our Outfit Monday: All Business at Birchwood


    Happy My Outfit Monday!

    Last week, the Divas got together for a very intense, high-stakes business meeting at the Canopy at the Birchwood, the rooftop bar overlooking the water in St. Petersburg. Over elderflower cocktails, we discussed ways to make the blog better, more engaged, and threw around some new features we hope to introduce, including more themed weeks. More on that in a minute....

    All of us on the rooftop at Birchwood, photo by a nice lady whose name we do not know. Thanks, miss!
  7. Review: American Stage's 'The Wiz' finds a groove in the park


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's fitting that this year's play in the park kicks off with a big tornado. American Stage's outdoor performance always has a certain rough-hewn charm, with actors and techs braving the elements in an unpredictable setting.

    The cast of The Wiz powered through it on opening night Friday. It rained briefly, the Tampa Bay Blues Festival was blaring down the street, and the audio quality was spotty at the start....

    Darryl Reuben Hall as The Wiz with Whitney Drake’s Dorothy.
  8. 'Ghost the Musical' goes from screen to stage at the Straz


    Here's an alternative to curling up with a glass of wine and watching Ghost on cable for the 39th time. Pull on a dress or a jacket and head to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, where the tour of Ghost the Musical opens Tuesday. The story is the one you know from the 1990 movie — Sam and Molly are young and in love, except Sam is dead and caught in the ether. The musical has an original pop score from Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and Glen Ballard, who co-wrote Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. The show runs through April 27 at the Straz Center, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $46.50-$81.50, (813) 229-7827.

    Steven Grant Douglas and Katie Postotnik star in “Ghost the Musical” at the Straz Center in Tampa.
  9. 'Million Dollar Quartet' brings Elvis, Johnny, Jerry and Carl


    This story is set on Dec. 4, 1956, when Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley got together at the Sun Records storefront studio in Memphis for one of the best jam sessions ever. And that's why they call it the Million Dollar Quartet, the Tony-winning musical that comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater at 8 Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Songs include Blue Suede Shoes, Ring of Fire, Hound Dog and Great Balls of Fire. $35-$75. (727) 791-7400. ...

  10. Review: 'Jersey Boys' at the Straz is a rocking good time


    TAMPA — Handshake on it. You'll have a good time at Jersey Boys.

    The audience clapped from the start Tuesday, and not at those carefully crafted slivers when an audience is supposed to clap. They clapped at the first few notes of songs, the punch lines, anything that harkened to New Jersey (which was, you know, everything).

    "Let's face it," said the Four Seasons' troublemaking Tommy DeVito (Nicolas Dromard). "We put Jersey on the map."...

    From left, Quinn VanAntwerp, Hayden Milanes, Nicolas Dromard and Adam Zelasko.
  11. Kate Moss for Topshop for Nordstrom debuts this month


    I'm an avid oggler of 1990s supermodels (in a fashion way, not in a creepy way). I love the glamour, the devil-may-care attitude of Naomi Campbell throwing cell phones at people, the unashamed lips of Christy Turlington, the snobby snootery of Linda Evangelista. It all spoke to a very gold chain, Versace time in our sartorial history. Kate Moss was always there on the fringes being alt, but I was never a huge fan in the same way. She was not a glamazon, but rather, a waif, a dressed-down girl in jeans and Converse. But lately, when I scan through Pinterest, I am totally drawn to her rumpled aesthetic. Maybe I'm just older, but there's something cool and accessible about Miss Moss, and she's landed on my People pin board more than once....

    Kate Moss for Topshop for Nordstrom
  12. American Stage's 'The Wiz' finds Dorothy in an unlikely place


    Whitney Drake was working on the Oasis of the Seas last summer, singing the part of Little Inez in the ship's production of Hairspray as well-fed tourists cruised to Mexico and Jamaica. • By coincidence, Karla Hartley was also on board. She had just been hired to direct American Stage's production of The Wiz for the theater's annual outdoor musical that draws thousands every spring. The show required the perfect Dorothy. • Drake's picture came up on a screen. Hartley paused. Was that Whitney? They had worked together on a play years before when Drake was 19, and she remembered the young woman's raw talent. • Hartley knew the allure cruise ships held for a performer. You work often, make good money and go places. But cruise ship life can also hook you, and before you know it, years have passed on the water. • She pulled Drake aside. You've got to get off the ship, she said. Drake had never had a star's role in a big production, but Hartley thought she should still audition for The Wiz. • If she believed, maybe she could be Dorothy....

    Jesse Rodriguez plays one of the flying monkeys.
  13. Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Wizard of Oz' comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall


    The Emerald City continues to take over Tampa Bay this week at Ruth Eckerd Hall, where The Wizard of Oz opens Tuesday. This time, it's Andrew Lloyd Webber's new production, an adaptation from the classic movie reconceived for the stage. It has all the songs you know and love, including Somewhere Over the Rainbow and We're Off to See the Wizard, as well as some new songs by Tim Rice and Lloyd Webber. In Ruth Eckerd Hall's show, the part of Toto is played by Nigel, a dog rescued from the Northeast Arkansas Humane Society by his dad and trainer, William Berloni. In 2009, Nigel was in The Wiz opposite singer Ashanti in New York City, so he knows what he's doing. The Wizard of Oz runs Tuesday through April 19 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $35-$100. On Wednesday, if you buy one adult ticket, you get a child's ticket free with the promo code FAMILY. (727) 791-7400.

    Another stage adaptation of the classic movie, produced by and featuring new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber, runs Tuesday through April 19 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.
  14. Meet the dog behind Toto in American Stage's 'The Wiz'


    Channeling Toto: Daisy gets her close-up

    There can be no Oz-ly venture without the little dog, too. For American Stage's production of The Wiz, the coveted role of Toto went to a pooch named Daisy.

    Daisy belongs to Zack Sutton, 21, an actor, St. Petersburg College student and Publix employee. Sutton got Daisy for his bar mitzvah back in the day.

    The Wiz props master Jerid Fox asked Sutton about using Daisy shortly before the show, when the Toto originally cast fell through. This will be Daisy's stage debut, and although she doesn't look like a traditional Toto, The Wiz is all about reinvention. A little about her:...

    A dog named Daisy, who is playing Toto in American Stage’s production of The Wiz in the park. Her owner is local actor Zack Sutton. The Wiz opens Friday at Demen’s Landing Park in St. Pete.
  15. A look at new seasons for Freefall Theatre and American Stage


    ST. PETERSBURG ­-- When a theater's artistic director puts together a season, there are plays he feels he has to do and plays he wants to do. Then there are plays that complement the package, and when it's all decided, a theme emerges.

    At Freefall Theatre in St. Petersburg, the theme of seven new shows is escaping from reality. The company announced its 2014-15 season Monday night at a party at Green Bench Brewing....

    Into the Woods opens the new season at Freefall Theatre.