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TOM WAITS FOR NO MAN: The Ballad of Bobby Ace

A record-breaking overflow, "we passed full house a long time ago" crowd packed the legendary Timucua White House on November 22, 2015, for the concert preview of Tom Waits For No Man, streamed live on the internet to a worldwide audience.

A play by Joseph Reed Hayes is a welcome oasis of cultured smarts." — Orlando Weekly

The story of Bobby Ace; semi-professional third-rate road musician half-way between last call and last chance, playing the songs of Tom Waits in seedy saloons and half-empty roadhouses. It is only when he loses himself in his fictional onstage persona that Bobby finds out who he truly is. This concert performance featured actor Cole NeSmith in a bravura solo performance and nu-jazz band La Lucha, with a host of very special guest artists, live on the Timucua White House stage.

It takes a particular mindset to be a Renaissance man, someone willing to wear the hats of playwright, music producer, freelance writer, radio personality, spoken-word performer, photographer and self-promoter. All those descriptions would fit Orlando arts advocate Joseph Hayes." — Orlando Sentinel

With new song interpretations arranged by John O'Leary, Joseph Hayes and Jeremy Birdsall, influenced by world rhythms, New Orleans stomp and bebop jazz, Tom Waits For No Man is a piece of "theater with music", inspired by the music of American singer/songwriter Tom Waits, interpreting an unbound variety of music in surprising new ways. Full of jazz and after-hours attitudes, the play will include an element of improvisation along with Hayes' artfully scripted writing, which the Orlando Sentinel has called "downright lyrical".

full play video

the 2015 concert preview


freelance writer

  • As a writer on assignment, I've traveled to Italy, Scotland, England, New Orleans, California and New York City, with a specialty on all things Orlando. Whether it's a story about Arts & Crafts houses in Florida or new styles in computers, a Mounted Police squad or alien abduction insurance, I've written it. Environmental issues, music, movie and theater reviews and in-depth conversations with legends in jazz. Interviews and personality profiles are my specialty.

A full-time freelance writer since 1996, I've written for national and international publications about food, travel and the arts, and am currently the Dining Critic for Orlando Magazine. With 32 productions and readings of my plays from coast to coast and in three countries since 2001, and producer of the Jazz On Edge series since 2008, I advocate the cause of local, sustainable art.

food writer

  • Florida Magazine Association Award winning food writer and Orlando restaurant critic, currently for Orlando Magazine. James Beard Foundation judge, knowledgable champion of world cuisine and avid advocate of undiscovered chefs. I can write about the front of the house of a restaurant as well as the kitchen with equal expertise. Founding member, goFLA/SunshinePlate Central Florida.


  • My plays take place on buses and in bars, in hotel rooms and government offices, farmhouse kitchens and jazz stages. 32 productions and readings of my plays from coast to coast and in three countries since 2001; creator of House Theater Project and the year-long 13in13 series of shows. "Best local playwright - Joseph Hayes" - Orlando Sentinel

jazz producer

  • Producer of the Jazz On Edge series, spotlighting new and original jazz from Central Florida since 2008, showcasing the best that Central Florida has to offer in jazz to appreciative audiences, giving creative hometown and nationally-known musicians a place to perform their own music, without boundaries, in person and online. Board member, Timucua Arts Foundation.