‘Mary Poppins’ takes off at Wallace State


Mary Poppins (Samantha Drake) watches over the Banks family (L-R): Winifred (Cheyenne Teeling, George (Justin Weygand), Michael (Domenico Brunetti) and Jane (McCoy Cleghorn) (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

At a glance

“Mary Poppins” in the Betty Leeth Haynes Theatre on the Wallace State campus

Admission is $5 for children, $10 for adults

Saturday, Oct.27 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 28 sensory-friendly matinee at 2 p.m.

HANCEVILLE – On Thursday evening, the Betty Leeth Haynes Theatre at Wallace State Community College became Cherry Tree Lane in London, as the WSCC Theatre Department opened its four-day production of “Mary Poppins.”

Before the show, director Lauren Salerno told The Tribune, “I’m actually really excited to open the show.  I’m excited for the kids to get to share the work that they’ve done and tell the story to the audience. I can’t control what goes on backstage, and that’s my biggest issue; but otherwise, they’re ready for an audience, and I’m excited that they get to have one tonight.”

The show is tech-heavy, with stage magic including Mary and her chimney sweeping cohort Bert both flying over the stage.  

Despite all the (literally) moving parts, tech director Noah Carpenter was confident, sharing, “We’re ready. On my end, at this point, there are no real words until the curtain opens.  Like it’s one of those overwhelming, beaming, excitement kind of things where I’ve gotten to sit here for the last month and a half and watch kids completely become new people, and not just become characters, but take characters and make the characters their own.

“So, to be able to watch them–and especially as like the outside director coming in–and to be able to see our students here who love the art that they perform in and be able to work with directors who love the students that they get to work with has just been a real gift, as somebody who moves from theater to theater on freelance and does it that way.”

Shows all weekend

Thursday evening was just the start.  WSCC Theatre offered a performance of “Mary Poppins” on Friday night, with another scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. and a special performance Sunday at 2 p.m.

Sensory-friendly performance Sunday

At 2 p.m. Sunday, the cast and crew will put on a special performance geared toward an audience with special sensory needs or guests who fall on the autism spectrum.  

Carpenter explained: “A sensory-friendly show is mainly targeted to audiences who have sensory disorders, or that in one way or another fall onto the spectrum.  The show's purpose is to take the theater, which so much of the time is an uninviting place to these audiences, and make some small but impactful changes that will help make the show easier for these patrons while not removing any of the art or magic of the show for them.”

Salerno told The Tribune last week, “We’ve never done a sensory-friendly production.  It’s definitely on my radar, because a lot of theater companies are starting to do that sort of thing.  I had a mom email me to ask if we were going to do one, because she would like to bring her child, but she had recently been to a performance that wasn’t sensory-friendly, and she didn’t feel that it was a positive experience for her child.  And I thought, ‘Why aren’t we doing that? We should be doing that.’

“So I talked to my department chair, and we decided that Sunday afternoon would be a good time to offer that, because it’s a daytime show.  And I can’t imagine that we’ll ever do a production again where we don’t have a sensory-friendly opportunity, because you want everybody to be able to experience theater.  You want everybody to be able to experience the arts. And if people are uncomfortable, or if they feel they’re being judged in any way, that’s not going to happen, and then you feel like you can’t offer them that.

 “I’m going to bring my kid to that one, because there’s a lot more freedom; like if people need to move, if people need to make noise, it’s okay.  We’ve already talked to the cast about it, about just always continuing on with the show, and knowing that there may be other elements that day, and that the best thing to do is just to say ‘Yes’ and move on through it.”

Cast and crew


  • Mary Poppins: Samantha Drake
  • Bert: Rayce Cleghorn
  • George Banks: Justin Weygand
  • Winifred Banks: Cheyenne Teeling
  • Jane Banks: McCoy Cleghorn
  • Michael Banks: Domenico Brunetti
  • Katie Nanna / Ensemble: Abigail Pass
  • Policeman / Ensemble: Carson Partain
  • Miss Lark / Ensemble: Caroline Grimes
  • Admiral Boom / Von Hussler / Ensemble: Riley Adams
  • Mrs. Brill / Ensemble: Chloe Nutt
  • Robertson Ay / Ensemble: Blake Tetro
  • Miss Andrew / Ensemble: Isabella Allred
  • Park Keeper / Ensemble: Cole Lawrence
  • Neleus / Ensemble: Conner Gully
  • Queen Victoria / Ensemble: Anna Eads
  • Bank Chairman / Ensemble: Eli Parker
  • Northbrook / Ensemble: Samuel Hewitt
  • Bird Woman / Ensemble: Susan Thompson
  • Mrs. Correy / Ensemble: Lacey Johnson
  • Fannie / Ensemble: Ashlynn Teeling
  • Annie / Ensemble: Essence James
  • Valentine / Ensemble: Sabrina Myers
  • Miss Smythe / Ensemble: Taylor Martin
  • Teddy Bear / Ensemble: Emily Douglas
  • Mr. Punch / Ensemble: Alexa Dempsey
  • Rag doll / Ensemble: Brooke Norris
  • Toy soldier / Ensemble: Jorrelle Webster
  • Willoughby the dog: Peppy Grimes

Creative team

  • Director: Lauren Salerno
  • Technical Director: Noah Carpenter
  • Musical Director: David Giambrone
  • Assistant Choreographer: Duke Cleghorn
  • Vocal coach: Tiffany Richter


  • David Giambrone, conductor
  • Joseph Stallworth, piano one
  • Jessica Webster, piano two
  • Kayla Bagwell, bass
  • Lindsey Giambrone, flute
  • Audrey parker, clarinet
  • Ricky Burks, saxophone
  • Jacob Keisler, saxophone
  • Drew White, trumpet
  • Daniel Leech, trombone
  • Eric Vaughan, percussion

Technical/stage crew

  • Assistant Stage Managers/ Props: Breanna Spangler, Abby Moody
  • Props Crew Head: Hannah Glassco
  • Props Crew: Ashlynn Teeling, Sabrina Myers, Essence James, Blake Tetro
  • Make-Up: Emily Douglas, McCoy Cleghorn, Lacey Johnson, Jes Fortenberry, Caroline Grimes,
  • Set Crew Head: Chloe Nutt
  • Set: Isaiah Washington, Meredith Jordan, Victoria Sports, Carson Partain, Conner Gully, Riley Adams, Eli Parker, Justin Weygand, Rayce Cleghorn,
  • Light Crew Head: Samuel Hewitt
  • Light Crew: Dallas Fields, Cole Lawrence
  • Hair/ Wigs: Weslie Beasley, Abigail Pass
  • Costumes: Samantha Drake, Cheyenne Smith, Isabela Allred


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