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. Plays at American Stage, Jobsite Theater explore Jewish identity


    Theater is a pretty humanizing force. And though two plays opening this weekend explore specific Jewish experiences, their directors think they can connect with anyone who comes. • There's the idea of a son breaking free from family tradition in The Chosen at American Stage. Or the dynamics of an old-fashioned family of the South in The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Jobsite Theater. • It's a coincidence, but both plays kicking off new seasons at the theaters explore themes of Jewish identity. They're both set in the same era but in parts of the country bisected by cultural ravines. • The plays are coming at a relevant time, Tampa Jewish Community Center executive director Jack Ross said. Anti-Semitism is flourishing abroad and religious persecution is at the forefront of political consciousness....

    Justin LeVine, left, and David Friedman play two friends from disparate communities in The Chosen.
  2. My Haircut Tuesday: The Emmys chop


    Yes, it's Tuesday! And yes, this is a hair post and not an outfit post! But life is all about adventure, about being flexible, especially when it's a long holiday weekend and it benefits me, specifically.

    So, remember how we talked about that haircut that every third woman had on the Emmys red carpet? How I wanted it, but they all beat me to it?...

    Brunching with salon-fresh hair: An American Tradition. Photo by my pal and former Deal Diva Emily.
  3. Barack Obama's tan suit: Yes or heck, no?


    Tampa Bay Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Dan Ruth just came by my desk and requested an official Deal Diva position on President Barack Obama's tan suit, so I felt like I better not only jump, but also ask HOW HIGH?

    Here we go with Suitgate 2014!

    If you're not up to speed, Obama set off a Twitterversy Thursday when he wore a tan suit to discuss ISIS and Syria and the Ukraine among other things, all very serious matters some armchair QBs felt more befitting of a darker hue. Mostly, though, people lobbed jokes about it being Easter, or about Joe Biden dressing his boss....

    President Obama speaks in the Press Briefing Room of the White House on Thursday. IN TAN.
  4. The haircut that Emmy made


    Last time I went to see my hair guy, I brought a couple Pinterest shots of hairstyles pilfered from the web, just longer than shoulder length, parted down the middle, layered and wavy all the way down. Tousled! Sexy! Fun! We we're all gung-ho for it until we realized my bangs weren't quite grown out enough to nail this look, so we agreed on waiting until next time.

    I would be so fresh, I thought. So original. So new and now, but I wouldn't see myself coming. I was the FIRST and ONLY person to EVER consider a center part with long, wavy layers....

    This is not the most beautiful picture of Julia Roberts, who we all know is one of the world's most beautiful women. But, it serves our purpose, so SORRY, LADY. Center part.
  5. Emmys fashion recap: Red, white and boo!


    I keep thinking today is Monday because the Emmys were last night, and the Emmys are always on a Sunday, and then I keep remembering it's Tuesday because everything was messed up this year with the VMAs and the football, and for large parts of the day I really have not known what is happening. Also, I just uploaded about 89 red carpet photos from our system and guess I was sitting on my leg the entire time, because when I stood up to walk away for a minute I wobbled like a baby deer trying to find its mother in a wooded glen....

    This is an interesting choice from Kerry Washington. My theory is that, being a brand new mom, she just wanted to turn up a little. Maybe she couldn't get away with wearing a mini skirt to the Emmys, but she could layer one under this long orange thing. I find it fun and fresh, and obviously I am happy for a little Olivia Pope infusion on my tube in these off-times.
  6. Emmy Awards fashion: Red was the new black, and other hits and misses


    Red is the new black. Also, white. Also, well, black. The celebrities trotted out a heavy mix of the hues on the Emmy Awards red carpet, some faring better than others. Lots of ladies were in the mood to ruin otherwise stellar looks with hair last seen after a body combat class at the local YMCA. We can't have it all, can we? At least one star reminded us that orange is actually the new black, and it wasn't even someone from the Netflix hit. Deal Diva Stephanie Hayes weighs in on the looks:...

    Laura Prepon
  7. Inaugural Tampa Bay Theatre Festival features actor Tasha Smith, five plays


    Rory Lawrence is about to host the first ever Tampa Bay Theatre Festival, and the feelings are familiar: the energy, the ambition, the anxiety.

    It's like the time he studied acting for two years without going on a single audition, afraid he wasn't good enough. Or the time he directed a production of A Raisin in the Sun and got in so over his head he almost called off the show.

    Along the way, friends and mentors stepped in to help him. His play was a success. He started landing parts. And he realized it was those intense experiences that really made him a better performer....

    Crystal Farina and Dennis Johnson perform in a scene from The Year of Independent Living, one of five plays to be performed either at Stageworks Theatre or the Straz Center during the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival this weekend in Tampa.
  8. Live coverage: Follow us tonight for Emmy insights and instant analysis

    The Feed

    Get instant analysis and snark, just the way you like it, with our live coverage of the Emmys. Times TV writer Michelle Stark and Deal Diva Stephanie Hayes will be tweeting with the hash tag #tbtemmys, so join the fun if you've got something to say. CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR UP-TO-THE-MINUTE TWEETS.


  9. Join Deal Divas for our Emmy's fashion live-tweet on Monday. Yes, Monday.


    There's something so luxurious about watching an awards show on a Sunday night. Sundays are quiet and cozy, but an old-fashioned voyeuristic celebrity parade gives the night a sense of occasion that lightens the threat of another work week. You order out some crab rangoon, pop that $5 Yellow Tail, settle in, tweet, laugh, stay up a little too late, marvel that you have still never seen an actual episode of Nurse Jackie....

    Heidi Klum being Heidi Klum at the Creative Arts Emmys earlier this month. We can haz fringe dress?
  10. Calling all models: Tampa Bay Fashion Week is casting


    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.
  11. Straz's Jobsite Theater a finalist for American Theatre Wing grant


    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.
  12. Mike Epps, Michael Che and Jo Koy bring laughs to the Mahaffey


    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
  13. 'Divine Sister' brings funny nuns back to Stageworks


    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.

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


    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.

    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. 
  15. 'Less' at the Studio@620 tackles the plight of homeless women


    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.