Sally Stageplay's battle phases take the form of four scenes that make up a complete production, and the player must defeat her in all four phases to win.
Sally is a young woman, appearing in her 20s or 30s and possessing a lanky figure. She has fair skin, rosy cheeks, close-set pie eyes, a medium-length nose, red lip-stick, and curly/puffy pale-blond hair (clearly a towhead) pulled into three segments (two pigtails and one ponytail) held in place with turquoise hair-bands.
Her primary outfit consists of a turquoise gown-like dress with a sea-foam-green diagonal stripe, short, puffy sleeves, white panties, and a knee-length, frilled skirt. She also wears plain turquoise boots, a mint-green pearl necklace, coral-diamond earrings, and cartoony white gloves. She also wields a Scarlett parasol.
In her start-up sequence of her first phase, she wears a simple, white wedding dress with elbow-length, puffy sleeves, a frilled waist-line, a floor-length skirt, and transparent veil, and a bouquet of coral flowers.
In her third phase, she appears as a large cardboard cutout of herself, bearing goddess outfit. She has curly red hair in puffy pigtails and magenta eye-shadow. She wears a deep scarlet dress with gold shoulder pads, no shoes, a sash-like belt, gold and ruby earrings, a gold helmet with a large crescent on her head, and two pairs black wings, one with bird wings and the other with bat wings,
In her final phase, she wears a white dress with blue trims, a golden halo, and blue angel wings, and (like in Phase 3) is bare-foot.
Sally loves fame and getting attention on her part, as seen when she calls herself a starlet and telling Cuphead and Mugman to get off the stage if they lose to her. When it comes to acting, she seems to take her job very seriously to the point of treating her battle with the brothers as a part of the play she's in.
In the good ending, Sally can be seen kissing the man who played as her newly married husband at the performance, showing that she does have feelings for him.
Sally's Husband, judging by his behavior in the background, appears to be more of a pacifist in contrast to other Inkwell Isle residents. He also appears to be a coward to a small extent.
The audience is cheering for the start of the play. Sally is seen wearing a bride's dress holding a red bouquet before ripping it off to reveal she's wearing a turquoise dress and boots and armed with an orange-red parasol. Meanwhile, the curtain rises up to reveal a wedding scene, with who appears to be an actor playing the husband panicking, along with a frightened pastor in the background.
"Break a leg...nah, break two!"
—Sally Stageplay, Phase 1 Death Screen
Hitpoints = 385/392/476 In her first phase, Sally has four attacks that she alternates back and forth or uses one attack more often than other:
- Her first known attack involves her umbrella swallowing her body, and after a second or two, she falls from above and lands on the players in an attempt to crush them. Where she lands may or may not be based on where the players are. In Simple mode, she falls slower. In Expert mode, she falls faster.
- She occasionally stops to blow the kiss as the kiss travels at the direction she is facing. The kiss can be avoided as it will fly off screen or parried to neutralize. If it hits the player, it will disappear.
- She will occasionally jump up in the air and strike the players by diagonally kicking at them. In Simple mode, Sally kicks slower. In Expert mode, she kicks faster. She may also remain in the air spinning and throw fans at the player. If the fans miss the players, they will be set on the ground as a trap for players accidentally running into them. In Simple mode, they last shorter. In Expert mode, they last longer.
After taking enough damage, Sally uses her umbrella to teleport into the background and rides away in a car with the newlywed husband which then commences the second phase.
"Stay away from center stage or succumb to the power of a starlet's rage!"
—Sally Stageplay, Phase 2 Death Screen
Hitpoints = 385/406/493
The second scene is set in front of what seems to be Sally's house. This probably takes place long after the wedding, since Sally and her husband have started a family. After the curtain rises, Sally appears from either the left or right side of the stage with a shocked expression before pointing angrily in the player's direction.
In this phase, Sally still attacks with her diagonal kicking and fan throwing, but she loses he umbrella teleporting attack. She can now use a new move which involves spinning her parasol to release four wind-up mouse toys that will travel along the ground, on the wall and the ceiling. Once they reach the top, they will drop down onto the players. In Simple mode, Sally will only release two wind-up mouse toys, and she will still do the umbrella teleporting attack in this phase.
In the background, Sally's children can damage the players by throwing a milk bottle down on them through the house's nine windows. They can be defeated and starts crying. In Expert mode, Sally's children appear more often. Hitpoints = 20/20/20
Sally's husband can be seen in the background, hiding in the bushes near the house. He seems to be distressed because Sally's battle is too much for him.
"Good riddance -- go away! It is time for my soliloquy."
—Sally Stageplay, Phase 3 Death Screen
Hitpoints = 330/406/493 The next scene is set in what is possibly Heaven, where players must now face Sally's goddess form, which is made out of cardboard and controlled by the people above.
She now has three brand new attacks that differ to her previous. Occasionally, a cardboard cutout will appear at the upper left corner showing which attack is about to be executed:
- METEOR: A cardboard meteor is dropped down from above which players can destroy to reveal a pink star. Hitpoints = 26/35/35
- BIG WAVE: A cardboard tidal wave carried by a troupe member that usually follows after the meteor attack. To avoid this big wave, players need to parry the pink star that was left over from the meteor attack to jump over it. Parrying the star doesn't count towards the parry total. The wave can also be dashed through if the player is using the Smoke Bomb charm.
- LIGHTNING: Cardboard lightning bolts that strike down on where the players are standing before being pulled back up. A maximum of four lightning bolts can be present at the same time. These will not appear in Simple mode.
In Expert mode, the attacks are executed at a faster rate.
Once players deal enough hits, the goddess form is defeated and twitches, and is brought up off screen. In Simple mode, the battle will simply end here with the goddess form twitching before the ovation happens.
"Please exit stage left during my standing ovation!"
—Sally Stageplay, Final Phase Death Screen
Hitpoints = 196/238
In this final, yet slightly messed-up scene, Sally returns in her angel outfit to receive a standing ovation from the crowd as she is being carried from left to right and back. In the background are the priest, Sally's children and her husband, who are also receiving praise from the audience.
She does not have any attacks, but rather her umbrella slowly falls down from above spinning on its tip and chasing the players relentlessly all while they have to shoot Sally above them.
The parasol is not the only danger that should be avoided, as the crowd can also throw harmful roses onto the stage. These roses will fall onto any random spot where players can accidentally run into them, though some will be colored pink and can be destroyed by parrying. In Expert mode, the roses appear more often.
After taking few more hits, Sally is down for good as she now has a ripped dress and a black eye while (barely audibly) yelling "Ow!" in pain. Meanwhile, her family and the priest in the background look shocked and disappointed, as one child covers her face with her hands so she would not scream.
In phase 1, when Sally blows the pink heart at the players, it can be parried to allow the player to jump up on cherubs hanging from both sides. For each time Cuphead or Mugman lands on the cherubs they will be weighed down, and the chandelier will shake and make a sound. When both are lowered, phase 1 suddenly ends as the chandelier falls on the husband and crushes him (as the husband looks up with his eyes popping out of his head), as Sally goes into the background plane and beginning to mourn her partner's death.
The set now changes to St. Timothy's Nunnery instead of Sally's home. It is implied that Sally has become a nun, and instead of her children throwing baby bottles straight down, a nun in the nunnery throws a pointer directly at the players, which has a chance to be pink. She can be defeated and cover her face. In Expert Mode, the nun will appear more often and the ruler is faster. Hitpoints = 15/20
In the secret phase, the priest will watch over the battle from the bushes rather than the husband. As Sally is defeated, the priest will take off his hat mourning.
In the third phase, her husband will come back in a god form with Sally's goddess form, coming from the left side of the screen. Sally's attacks are still the same. Her husband will attack as well by summoning a cherub (which may be the male baby from the normal phase 2), which will push a cardboard fire wheel that travels in a straight line through the ground. In Expert Mode, the fire wheels will travel faster and their spawn rate is increased. The husband has his own stamina but it is combined with Sally's so they are defeated simultaneously. Total Hitpoints = 756/893
The final phase of the fight is mostly unchanged, however the nun will join the priest in the background of the fight instead of Sally's husband and children. Still, they will react to Sally's defeat with shocked and disappointed expressions, respectively.
|Sally attacking with her kicks and kisses.|
|Sally reacting in shock at the beginning of the second phase.|
|Sally laughing as she sends out the wind-up toys.|
|Sally whining as she turns into an angel.|
|Sally cackling as a meteor is sent out.|
|Regular Mode||Expert Mode|
Sally Stageplay's animation is an amalgamation of some of the team's favorite cartoon and fighting game characters topped with ComiColor flair. There is obvious influence from Popeyes Olive Oyl with her lanky limbs and floppy feet, but even more influential was Samurai Showdown IIIs Shizumaru Hisane with his parasol weapon attacks.
- Sally Stageplay is similar to the Queen from the 1933 Betty Boop cartoon Snow-White.
- One of Sally's children in the 2nd phase bears a striking resemblance to Little Lambkins from the 1940 cartoon of the same name (due to his hair colour).
- The animation for her third phase is somewhat similar to certain cutout animation films such as The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), Heaven and Earth Magic (1957), and Twice Upon a Time (1983), as well as the cartoon portions of the British series Monty Python's Flying Circus.
- The third phase of her fight is set much like the boss fights in turn-based RPGs like Final Fantasy, with her cardboard cutout staying immobile and panels with the names of the attacks showing up above her.
- Her cardboard cutout form has a similar appearance to that of Kefka in Final Fantasy VI.
- Her boss intro is similar to Urien’s from Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact.
- Her usage of a fan and umbrella in combat is similar to Mai Shiranui from the Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters series.
- Sally may have been inspired by Sally Swing, a blonde character from Betty Boop. In Cuphead, the victory tune is also reminiscent of a tune at 6:22 of that cartoon.
- Her fight is similar to the 1933 Mickey Mouse short Mickey's Mellerdrammer in which, Mickey and his friends were trying to put on a show and things go wrong for the actors, Cuphead and Mugman coming for her contract in her fight, and various technical difficulties in Mickey's Mellerdrammer. The short and the fight also indicate breaks with an “asbestos” (spelled "assbestos" in the Mickey short) curtain.
- She has a similar color scheme to Sally Brown from Peanuts, who also (albeit coincidentally) has her given name.
- Sally Stageplay’s diagonal kicks in the first two phases are similar to Dhalsim’s diagonal kicks from the Street Fighter series.
- The crowd is shown clapping whenever a phase is completed, one person in the crowd is even shaking a cane around.
- Sally, along with Captain Brineybeard and Dr. Kahl from "Junkyard Jive!" are the only three human bosses in this game.
- Sally Stageplay is the only "normal" boss to not have transformations. Her third phase is only a cardboard version of her normal self (which is done in cutout animation) and the attacks are made by the other actors.
- Of all the bosses in the game, her third phase is the only boss battle that has no thick cartoon outlines.
- This is one of the few times Studio MDHR includes its name on something in the game besides the death screens.
- Her phase 1 death line is a reference to the idiom "Break a leg" which means to do well. She takes it literally after saying "nah," and saying to break both legs.
- Every time the curtain falls, there is "ASBESTOS SAFETY CURTAIN" written on it. This is a reference to the fire-retardant properties of the mineral asbestos, and how it was was formerly used to make safety curtains before its ban due to dust from it was known to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
- The car that Sally and her "husband" drive off with at the end of phase 1 appears to be a convertible variant of a 1933 Bugatti Royale, a rare luxury car.
- There is an unused sprite sheet for a prop bird, it is an attack for Sally but it is unknown which phase she will use them, most likely they would be summon by Sally and fly around the stage.
- There is an unused attack called "SHURIKEN BOMB" that was scrapped at the concept period. This attack was to be used in phase 1, Sally can throw the shuriken bomb instead of the fan, it will split into two that arcs both sides.
- In the codes, at the final phase when Sally is receiving her standing ovation, some fans will throw explosive projectiles at the stage instead of just roses, referencing when people hated the show and throw tomatoes and random objects on stage where it would make a mess.
- With 1.2.0 update when the player defeat Sally's first phase after lowering both cherubs and before the husband get crush (which makes Sally invulnerable), Sally will shown to be defeated in phase two instead and completely skip that phase. Both Sally and her husband cut out god form will be lowered after that. This might be cause by lowering both cherubs will immediately skip to the second phase but the total health haven't increased yet in that split second of transitioning, by defeating her phase 1 in that time frame the game got confused by thinking she is defeated at phase 2 thus skipping it entirely. This glitch combine with phase 3 having two hitboxes for Area-of-Effect damage EX made defeating her even faster than with weapon swap glitch in version 1.0, where you can double your damage output by swapping weapons.
- ↑ The Art of Cuphead, Sally Stageplay, page 170