Cullman hooked on ‘The Little Mermaid’


“You got to purse your lips like this” – Sebastian (Justin Weygand) coaches Ariel (Marie Bean) on how to win over Prince Eric (W.C. Mann for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – On Friday evening, among the hottest and most scarce commodities in the city of Cullman were empty seats in the Cullman High School auditorium, as the community packed the house to see the CHS Performing Arts production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”  Family members and friends of the huge cast and crew came to support their own, families with young children turned out in droves for the Disney-based story, and the ambitious production and brand-new stage effects created its own draw for kids of all ages.

Before the curtain rose, CHS Theatre Director Wayne Cook said, “We’re very excited!  This is our second public performance, and we expect there to be a large crowd here tonight. We had a really good crowd last night, but we expect there to be a lot of people.”

The theater troupe gave multiple abbreviated performances for school groups during the days leading up to opening night on Thursday, and Cook was pleased to have the opportunity to present the complete show during the public events.

“Our kids have been tremendous,” said Cook.  “They have outperformed themselves this year, and just done a great job.  And we’ve had a lot of great feedback from the people, and we’re very excited about it.

“I’m very proud of these kids.  They work hard. I’ve often said that our community has tremendous talent.  You know, what my privilege is is to be able to just kind of direct it, mold it, shape it and put it into places where it can be seen.

“That’s what we do: myself and Ms. Skinner.  And of course, I work with two other people: Sarah Jane Skinner–who’s our choral director here, and Nohe Naehu–she’s with The Factory dance studio, but she’s also our choreographer and she teaches here at the school.  And so, it’s kind of like having a dream team of people that work with these kids, just all the different elements we have going on here for a production like this. It’s been great, and these kids love all of them, and they work hard and respond to this, so it’s a big honor to be able to work with these kids, and we look forward to keeping that going.”

Ariel herself

The Tribune caught up with the little mermaid herself, Marie Bean, before the show started.  She talked about playing the iconic role:

“It’s been so much fun, but also very nerve-wracking, because, like, I want to portray the part correct, so all the kids can enjoy just as I did as a kid watching the movie.  And I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of that, and I’m very proud of myself. And I take pride in what I do, because I really enjoy it every single day. So, yeah, it’s been a really fun and exciting experience.”

The biggest challenge?

“The biggest challenge is right before I go onstage.  That is when I get the most nervous, but once I swim out there, everything’s fine.  It’s like all of it just goes away.”

The most fun part?

“The most fun is getting to do it with all of my friends.  It’s truly a family, and just being together every single day, going through the motions.  I’d say just experiencing it all is the most fun for me.”

The goal for CHS Performing Arts

Said Cook, “You know, our idea was to try to provide quality theater for the community and teach these kids what high quality theater is.  We really try to achieve something that’s not your typical high school production. I mean, we want it to be something that people say, ‘Well, that’s not what I expected from a high school performance.’  That’s our goal. Sometimes we achieve it–most of the time we achieve it. I feel like we’ve done that this year. They hear that from us; we give them high expectations, and they rise.”

Cast and crew

“Mermaid” was a massive all-hands-on-deck production for CHS Performing Arts, with a huge cast and crew including:


Ariel​ – Marie Bean

Sebastian ​- Justin Weygand

Scuttle ​- Blake Tetro

Prince Eric​ – Jady Pipes

King Triton​ – Rutland Turner

Ursula​ – Abby West

Flounder ​- Powers Bates and Slade Turbyfill

Ariel Understudy – Laci New

Ariel Body Double – Isabella Allred

Prince Eric Understudy/Body Double – Cameron Baumgartner

Grimsby ​- Graffin Shaddrix

Flotsam​ – Ethan Hendrix

Jetsam​ – David Goymer

Chef Louis​ – Grant Holland

Aquata ​- Alyssa Sandlin

Andrina​ – Isabella Allred

Arista​ – Kayla Watts

Atina​ – Natalie Thrasher

Adella​ – Mary Claire Page

Allana​ – Laci New

Pilot ​- Matthew Smith

Windward ​- Devon Campbell

Leeward​ – Adam Cooner

Maid #1 ​- Winter Murray

Maid #2​ – Madison Smith

Maid #3​ – Olivia Holbrook


Seagulls ​- Sam Jones, Cameron Baumgartner, Clay Brown, and Matthew Smith

Princesses ​- Tiffany Dotson, Avery Barlow, Chandler Greer, Dana Cordes, Mallory Johnson and Kate Rains

Chef Staff​ – Jubal Lindsey, Devon Campbell, Adam Cooner, Trent Lee, John Dudley and Harrison Drake

Maids​ – Emma Laidley, Anna Kammerlocher, Olivia Noblett, Brooke Quattlebaum, Sayra Milne, Chloe Zinsmeister and Selena Yanez

Sailors​ – Dany Dong, Dawson Culver, Macey Orr, Isabel Newby, Zach Harbison, Jared Spears, Caleb Brown, Grant Holland, Clay Brown, Sam Jones, Evie Lee and Cameron Baumgartner

Sea Creatures ​- Mattie Green, Jessie Thiot, Katie Mason, Chelsea Hallmark, Emily Gable, Chloe Camille, Brianna Phenicie, Chloe Bales, Miracle Corley, Bethanie Smith, Jenn Netherton, Jaden Whaley, Caitlin Bates, Emma Kate Price, Maggie Keeton, Audrey Nicholas, Emily Bell, Angelina Hughes, Anabelle Howse, Harrison Drake, Claire Chandler, Kaitlyn Smith and Lauren Chapin

Crustacean Band​ – Devon Campbell, Adam Cooner, and Harrison Drake

Crabs – Kaley Eaton, Brooklyn Hankey, Emma Heaton, Katie Heaton, Josie Rice, Bailey Schuman, Brie Turner and Lily West

Under the Sea Dancers – ​Lillimae Allen, Leah Bowden, Chloe Carter, Anna Franklin, Kate Davis Heatherly, Presley Lafon, Brittany Lee, Courtney Lee, Millie LaGanke, and Abby Sosa

Lightning Bugs– ​ Kameron Elder-hart, Brie Miller, Kalea Rowan, Nia Smith and Savanna Ball

Swamp Ladies – ​Lillian Bowers, Breanna Cain, Emma Laidley, Olivia Holbrook and Macey Orr

Scuttle’s Friends – ​Abbi Black, Sarah Grace Brown, Sophia Flanigan, Ava Claire Foust, Bailee Henderson, Brenyn Hale, Campbell Kent, Carter Kent, Arleigh Kate Smothers and Logan Schuman

Student Director – ​Ella Morring

Tech Crew​ – Cole Lawrence, Lauren Thiot, Colin Baumgartner, Katherine Segars, Micah Andrews, Riley Chrisman, Christian Wilson, Emiley Gable and Rylee Reese

Stage Crew​ – Wes Ellard, Tyler Phillips, Jake Wachter, Lyndsey Elrod, Kellianne Mikus, Devon Campbell, Sara Reeves, Bailey Grace Smith, Morgan Shikle, Olivia Wood, Alyssa Tancredi, Coco Eddleman, Claudio Ramirez, Samarada San, Alayah Smith, Stacy Harris, Emma Mansour, Jaisa Letson, Ashley Clowers, Hayden Hovater, Clay Goble, Zonna Parr, Haley Rogus, Devan Coonter, Tyler Tisdale and Clay Pruitt

Makeup Crew ​- Jade Bryant, Ivy Falcon, Ishmael Martinez, Karlie Brown, Katherine Segars, Piper Hemphling, Catelin McDonald, Chloe Southerland, Maria Ayala and Emiley Gable

House Crew ​- Jaylee Canter, Grace Riley, Emily Robertson, Zoe Arnold, Emily Douglas, Gage Watwood, Bailee Vest, Jessica Youmans, Alissa White, Lauren Thiot, Ashlee Kuri, Taylor Trimble and Laney Burgess

Costume Crew​ – Winter Murray, Emma Bruce, Zoe Kelsey, Grace Riley, Morgan Schultz, Emma Shivey and Dana Cordes

Pit Choir -​ ​Maria Ayala, Brianna Alexander, Reyna Ayala Morales, Alexis Brown, Ragan Canter, Tristan Hanvey, Elyse Koloski, Lexi Stephens, Mary Watwood, Alyssa Barbee, Emma Bruce, Jade Bryant, Aubrie Covington, Ava Cox, Katelin Ferrell, Olivia Hudson, Sarah Johnson, Angela Lejarazo, Mariana Ruiz-Pedregal, Katie Smith, Emily Watwood, Adrionna Cox, Lauren Tancredi, Anya Twilley, Alli Stanford, Danique Janssen, Cort Chandler, Luke Keeton, Gage McCrary, Sebastian Pinkard, Chloe Powers, Sydney Waldrep, Gabby Walker, David Dominguez, Sam Vinson, Jaylen Hughey, Isaiah Jones, Grace Denney, Myleen Andon, Jade Barbee, Emiley Beckman, Carrie Betts, Gabriella Brown, Ashlei Bryant, Baylee Burgess, Alivia Busby, Madelyn Cain, Kristin Chau Le, Lindsey Cole, Quinteona Hicks, Ellie Howse, Bailey Hurn, Victoria Kammerlocher, Anna Lee, Emma Lindsey, Anna Page, Ina Ramirez, Ashton Shelton, Maria Silva, Karli Swann, CiCi Tran, Bercy Valverde and Stevie Wilson

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