Category Archives: Backdrops

Alternative Backdrops for the Nutcracker Suite 

One of the most popular performances that we provide backdrops for is the annual showing of the Nutcracker Suite across the country. With more than 132 options of backdrops, it is no wonder our organization is one of the top suppliers for performances of this beloved holiday show. 

In past blogs, we have explored some of our most popular backdrops for the Nutcracker Suite. In this blog, we would like to take a look at some of the alternative backdrops that some groups like to rent for their performances. 

The Acts and Alternative Sets of Nutcracker Suite 

The Nutcracker has three acts with the first act being the “Party Scene” which commonly is depicted by a Victorian home scene. Some organizations, however, choose palace backdrops instead of a Victorian home appearance. 

Act Two involves the “Land of Sweets” in which many theater organizations choose to use fairyland palace backdrops rather than a candy palace. And lastly, Act Three is the “Snow Forest” scene with multiple options from our comprehensive inventory. 

Let’s take a look at some of these alternative backdrops that may help your theater group this year. 

The Party Scene Alternatives

If your set designers are looking for an alternative to the Victorian home set, these palace backdrops may work for your performance. 

palace interior

This Palace Interior Backdrop #2363 shows a stunning yellow interior of a mansion with a center window, columns, balustrades, sculptures, and a balcony. 

Another alternative option that organizations lean toward includes this Palace Grand Staircase Backdrop #2054 which shows a main foyer staircase with statues and three large windows.

The Land of Sweets 

As the Nutcracker performance progresses, the scene changes to the “Land of Sweets” in Act Two. Instead of choosing one of the candy palace backdrops, some groups instead choose the fairyland look of a palace such as Palace Interior Backdrop #2358. This backdrop shows an ornate palace interior with gold chandeliers and purple draperies

Gold arches with pink and blue stripes

This candy-colored palace backdrop would also be a great choice for the “Land of Sweets” Act. This Palace Interior Backdrop #2542 displays a pink and blue wall with ornate gold arches and shields.

This Palace Interior Backdrop #2350 is also a wonderful option for the “Land of Sweets” scenes as it shows an ornate palace interior with gold chandeliers and pink draperies. 

The Snow Forest 

For the scenes that take place in the snowy forest during Act Three, there are a few options that will have you debating which might be best for your performance. These include the Snow Village Backdrop #3168 which depicts a winter landscape with a town nestled in the valley.

Additionally, organizations have used Ice Palace Backdrop #3089 which depicts a beautiful winter landscape at night showing a large snow and ice palace.

NutcrackerFor a complete inventory list of Nutcracker Suite backdrops, visit our show suggestion page under Nutcracker


My fair lady

Exquisite My Fair Lady Backdrops 

The musical My Fair Lady chronicles the lessons of Professor Henry Higgins as he attempts to educate and culturally transform Eliza Doolittle into a proper-speaking lady of England. Their lessons allow us to explore social themes that are still important in our society today. These themes include social discrimination and linguistic profiling. 

The Story of My Fair Lady

Eliza Doolittle, a young woman who hails from East London and possesses a dialect that is described as cockney, finds herself in speech lessons with an overconfident and somewhat pompous Professor Henry Higgins. He makes it his goal to rid her of the cockney dialect that is common to working-class or middle-class Londoners during the 1950s. 

The social experiment to teach the “proper” way to pronounce words takes her out of her middle-class lifestyle and has her attending horse races and balls that the upper class or London elite attend. 

Sadly, Professor Higgins and his trusty side-kick, Colonel Pickering, end up making Eliza feel less than human as they make strides toward transforming her. Eventually, she flees from the Professor who begins to understand that he is, indeed, in love with Eliza. 

Some of the more popular musical numbers in My Fair Lady include “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.” This beloved musical is based upon George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe.

Backdrops for My Fair Lady 

London is the main setting of the musical and the specific locations within the city include the East London streets and tenements, Professor Higgins’ study, the Opera set, and the garden. Here are some of the backdrops we offer that can help set your performance of My Fair Lady

The Streets of London

To set the stage for scenes that include the streets of London, this backdrop titled Street Legs–My Fair Lady Backdrop #2053 displays brick storefronts and a pub with a Guinness sign in the window. 

We also offer this Street Legs–My Fair Lady Backdrop #2039 in coordination with the above backdrop. It shows brick storefronts selling cigarettes and looking for players. 

The Professor’s Study 

To set the stage for the scenes that take place in Professor Higgins’ study the following backdrops would be perfect with walls of books, staircases, and large windows. This option, called Higgins Study with Backing Backdrop #0382 provides specifications for a staircase that can be built in the back of the two backdrops. 

The Ballroom Backdrop 

During the scene where Professor Higgins exposes Eliza to a ball, the Conservatory Backdrop #NO549 would be appropriate. This backdrop shows a neutral Victorian interior with center stairs leading up to a conservatory.

For all 50 backdrops in our collection designed for My Fair Lady, please visit our show suggestion page. 


Little shop of Horrors

Our Favorite Backdrops for Little Shop of Horrors 

What happens when you combine a man-eating plant, a nerdy plant-loving florist shop employee, and a romantic love interest? You get a gleefully gruesome and beloved musical called Little Shop of Horrors of course! 

This rock musical was composed by Alan Menken and written by Howard Ashman. It is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors, directed by Roger Corman. 

Let’s explore this tantalizingly romantic/horror performance and how Charles H. Stewart Backdrops can help elevate your performance to the next level. 

The Story of the Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors chronicles the life of a meek and nerdy flower shop botanist named Seymour Krelborn. His work at Mushnik’s, a flower shop in urban Skid Row, leads him to develop a crush on co-worker Audrey Fulquard. 

During his time at the shop, he seeks out fortune and fame, two things he dearly lacks, by finding mysterious and unique plant specimens. He comes across a plant that he names Audrey II, in honor of his crush. While this seems sweet and innocent, the audience soon finds out that the plant only wants to eat humans! 

Seymour becomes the nursemaid and feeder of the plant who will later eat Audrey’s boyfriend and the mean shop owner. Seymour realizes the frightening pace of the plant’s growth and desire for more blood when it tries to eat Audrey. He fends off the attacks and eventually wins in the battle for life and death by electrocuting the plant. 

Audrey recognizes the good in Seymour and they head off into “happily ever after,” that is until they enter their new home and realize that an offshoot of Audrey II was growing in their garden. 

Backdrops for Little Shop 

Little Shop of Horrors takes place mainly on Skid Row, a largely impoverished community in Las Angeles, and in a small florist shop called Mushnik’s. To make this production come to life, we offer 9 backdrops that have been created with this musical in mind. 

Here are a few that will help your performance come to life and shock your audience as Seymour struggles with the plant’s unique appetite and his growing feelings for Audrey. 

The central location for most of this performance takes place in the impoverished area known as Skid Row and within the walls of the flower shop where Seymour feeds his exotic plant and his love blossoms for Audrey. This ​​Flower Shop Backdrop #0107 shows a beautiful scene with many flowers and plants in a greenhouse. The backdrop also shows a farmhouse and trees. 


For street scenes of Skid Row, this Alley Backdrop #1801 shows a back alley littered with trash, an old sofa, fence, and hanging laundry.

Also suitable for the Skid Row aesthetic is New York Street Backdrop #2512 which depicts the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. Included on the backdrop is an elevated train, the George Washington Bridge, and the skyline of New York in the background.

To view all the backdrops in our inventory suitable for the Little Shop of Horrors, please visit our suggested shows pages and explore all we have to offer. 


Get ‘Set’ for Hairspray, the Musical!

Audiences of all ages love the eight-time Tony Award-winning Hairspray, the Musical. The 1960s-style music, the cheerful dancing, the colorful costumes, and (of course) the lively backdrops make this musical one you will be tapping with the beat and belting out the lyrics for days! 

The Story of Hairspray 

Big-haired teenager Tracy Turnblad has always dreamed of dancing on the Corny Collins Show, a television dance program, but she lacks the trim waistline and the dance moves to be chosen as a dancer. With the help of her black friends, she learns some killer downtown rhythm and blues moves that allow her to pursue her dream of making the show. 

Once chosen, she works to integrate the show so that black and whites can all dance to toe-tapping 1960s music. While the musical is upbeat, colorful, and generally has a positive message, it is also a social commentary on the injustices of American society and the inequities that still exist today. 

Hairspray is a musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, and a book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on the 1988 John Waters film Hairspray

Backdrops To Set the Scenes of Hairspray 

Hairspray takes place in Baltimore, Maryland, and has scenes in multiple locations including Corny Collins’ television dance studio, the high school gym, the Turnblad home, and a record store. Each scene may require set changes and could use multiple backdrops. Or, depending on the set design/backdrop budget, you could choose one backdrop and change lighting and angles to change the overall mood of the scene. 

Here are some options that could be used for specific scenes or used throughout the entirety of the performance. 

center stage

This Center Stage Backdrop #2407 shows a stage with floor lights, spotlights, and drapery curtains. Use this for television show scenes or as a high school stage. 

record warp

Looking for a dance-vibe backdrop? This Record Warp III Backdrop #2318 displays wavy musical notes with floating records and yellow stars. This could be used specifically for the scenes with the Corny Collins show or as a general backdrop. 

Gymnasium backdrop

For scenes in the high school or gymnasium, this Gymnasium Backdrop #2352 shows a high school gym with bleachers, exit doors, and lights. 


If you are looking for a backdrop for the Corny Collins show or scenes where Tracy practices her dance moves, this 1950s Novelty Backdrop #2319 will bring you back to the bee-bop days of dance with the musical note scroll, jukeboxes, and silhouettes of a guy in a leather jacket and a girl in a poodle skirt.

For all 33 backdrops designed with Hairspray, the Musical in mind, visit our website and start exploring how you will set the stage for your special production. 


performers in the shadows on stage with a red curtain in the background

Creating a Mood on the Stage

Mood is a key element in any performance whether it is: a musical or dramatic performance, on a high school stage or under the big lights of Broadway. The audience can sense the mood and atmosphere through the lighting, music, set design, props, clothing and the tone given off by the actors. The performers can add to the mood by using specific dialogue, facial gestures and movement. Here at Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart, we know the importance of setting the tone, atmosphere and mood from the moment the curtain rises. Let’s take a look at ways to set mood during a performance and through set design.

Crafting the Perfect Ambience in Theatre


Lighting is probably one of the most straight-forward ways to set a mood on stage. From full stage illumination to a single spotlight, the mood can change from wild, happy and energetic to somber and quiet. The intensity, coloring and direction of the lighting can help set a mood that will be mirrored by the actors on stage.


Backdrops and drapes come in all sorts of scenic designs and colors. Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart can enhance your production by allowing for dramatic shifts with the use of different backgrounds.


The music or score of any production works with the plot, acting, lighting and dialogue to create a mood that is unique to the action on the stage. In addition to the score, sound effects such as doors opening, floorboards squeaking and bells ringing can increase the dramatic effect.

Costumes and Props

While every play/musical has its own set and costume design, these items can also play into the atmosphere that the director wants to portray. Whether the play is set in the 18th Century or the 1980s, the clothing and props worn and used by the actors is just one more component that adds to the overall mood of the performance.

Pivotal Role in Setting the Mood in Theatre

We all know theatre is a fabricated representation of real life. However, when setting the mood in theatre, actors need to play on real emotions of real members of the audience in order to gain the reactions necessary. There are a few critical aspects of surroundings and physical appearance that evoke certain emotions realistically, and they are a pivotal part of setting the mood in theatre.


An actor brings a character to life on stage. Their job is to influence the atmosphere for everyone present and through their depiction of the character, they have the ability to set whatever mood they want for the audience. A sorrowful monologue or a jubilant victory speech can dramatically change the mood of the scene.

Voice Inflection and Tone

Everyone has experienced raising their voice and speaking down an octave while angry, a soft whimper when upset, or loud and bubbly when happy. By modulating their voice, actors can convey emotions, create tension, or establish a specific atmosphere. The way they speak, whether it’s through volume, pitch, pace, or rhythm, significantly influences the audience’s perception of the scene.

Physical Expression and Body Language

“Actions speak louder than words” could not be more true in this situation. Sometimes a simple physical gesture can evoke more emotion than speech both in real life and on stage. An actor’s physicality helps create a visual language that enhances the audience’s understanding and emotional connection to the scene.

Facial Expressions

These are sometimes hard to hide in real life when you don’t want to show you’re upset or maybe frustrated. On stage however, facial expressions are sometimes the most moving and mood evoking aspect. Actions as subtle as narrowing ones eyebrows, widening eyes, or pursing lips together can convey a wide range of emotions, adding depth to a character and creating an overall ambiance.

Interaction with Other Characters

Through their dialogue, physicality, and emotional exchanges, actors can create tension, intimacy, conflict, or harmony, significantly shaping the mood and energy of the performance. The chemistry between actors contributes greatly to the overall emotional impact on the audience.

Reacting to the Environment

By incorporating their surroundings into their actions, actors have the ability to create a rich atmosphere where they have the power to control emotions. Set design, lighting or sound cues are examples of impactful interactions with their environment.


Timing is critical in any type of performance. Precise execution of dramatic or comedic moments, intentional pauses, and any purposeful disruption to an ongoing rhythm is a theatrical art. An actors’ ability to control timing and pacing enhances the desired effect of emotional responses.

Use of Space

The way that actors move around the stage, where and how much space they choose to occupy along with their proximity to other characters or objects can be very telling of the mood of the scene. Spacial relations can help convey dynamics, emotions, intimacy and even foreshadow future situations.


In theatre, improvised scenes aren’t rehearsed beforehand, and when something is said or done spontaneously, it can create a raw emotion and mood that an audience is bound to feel. Improvisation adds a sense of authenticity and unpredictability that can easily sway the theatre’s mood.

Set The Right Atmosphere in Theatre

Need help creating a mood for your set design? Take a look here on our website at the wide range of backdrops we offer and be sure to contact us to purchase or rent. The possibilities are endless.


Midsummer Night's Dream

Explore the Backdrops of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

As is often the case in the works of William Shakespeare, love is a major theme in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Written in 1595 by the well-known English poet, this story tells the tale of the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta the former queen of the Amazons. 

The story chronicles four Athenians who have run away to the forest only to have Puck, a servant of Oberon, the King of the Fairies, create a magic potion that will make them fall in love with the first person they see! 

Thematically, Shakespeare explores the ideas of what love is as well as how appearance and reality take a role in that. He also delves into the concepts of order versus disorder. These themes emerge as the audience meets the four main characters: Helena, who is hopelessly in love with Demetrius; Demetrius, who is in love with Hermia; Hermia who is in the process of escaping from her father’s arranged marriage with Demetrius; and Lysander who is trying to elope with Hermia. 

The four characters run through the forest pursuing each other while devious Puck helps his master play a trick on the fairy queen. When Oberon demands that Puck uses the potion on Demetrius, hilarity ensues as Puck accidentally uses the potion on the wrong couples causing confusion and absolute chaos in the forest. In the end, Puck reverses the magic, and the two couples reconcile and marry.

Backdrops for Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Most of this play, one of Shakespeare’s most popular works, takes place in the forest where the young couples roam and the fairies play tricks on them. Backdrops By Charles Stewart offers more than 22 backdrops appropriate for a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, but here are several of our favorites. To view all of the options, please visit our suggestions page


You can almost picture Puck here in the Forest Backdrop #2510 as he plays devious tricks on the Athenian couples. The thick forest vegetation and lush foliage give the appearance of many hiding spots for the fairies to play tricks. 


This Garden Backdrop #2278 creates a Grecian-style atmosphere with Athenian columns and pink flowers. The Colonnade is the perfect place to introduce our two couples and the King of the Fairies. 


Yet another Garden Backdrop # 2336 shows more of a Tuscan-style garden with flowers, a stone wall, and arborvitae trees.

To explore more options for your production, visit Backdrops By Charles H. Stewart and search the Midsummer Night’s Dream page

Hairspray the Musical Backdrops We Love 

“Tomorrow is a brand new day, and it don’t know white from black! ‘Cause the world keeps spinnin’ ’round and ’round, and my heart’s keepin’ time to the speed of sound.” (Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray

This quote, as said by Motormouth Maybelle (played by Queen Latifa in the 2007 film adaptation ) in Hairspray, depicts the ultimate issues of racial integration, equal rights, and social justice as discussed in this wildly popular musical. Let’s explore the story of Hairspray and the backdrops that can help your production come to life.

What Is the Story of Hairspray? 

Hairspray the Musical, a comedy set in 1960s Baltimore, follows the life of an outgoing and plus-sized teen girl, Tracy Turnblad, as she dreams of one day dancing on the local television dance program called the “Corny Collins Show.” The popular program was loosely based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. 

While initially, Tracy is not very smooth on her feet, she eventually lands in school detention where she becomes friendly with several African American girls who teach her some of their groovy moves. This new connection and friendship eventually land Tracy a coveted spot on the Corny Collins dance show where she is transformed from a relative nobody into a social justice crusader fighting for racial integration and equality on the television show. 

As she becomes practically a celebrity overnight, she meets a cast of colorful and amazing characters including the teenage heartthrob Link who was the host Corny Collins, and Motormouth Maybelle played by Queen Latifa. 

Hairspray received 8 Tony Awards including best musical, book, score, and direction. The stage production successfully ran for more than six years, closing on January 4, 2009, after 2,642 performances.

Backdrops of Hairspray For Your Production 

The scenes and songs of Hairspray follow the 1960s-style dance music and “downtown” rhythm and blues of that era and are set in some comfortable places like Tracy’s bedroom, the high school, the T.V. studio of Corny Collins Show and the hangouts of many teens – the streets of their city. 

For the high school scenes and ​​classroom scenes, there are several options to choose from including this Classroom Backdrop #2349 which displays a modern classroom interior with a chalkboard, flag, globe, and a projector screen. This would be perfect for the detention scene. 

Although the musical is set in Baltimore, this NYC Tenements Backdrop #2366 shows a city during daylight hours overlooking tenements from the roof of a building. 

For scenes at the Corny Collins dance show, this Center Stage Backdrop #2407 

depicts floor lights, spotlights, and drapery curtains suitable for the set of the television dance program in which Tracy scores a role.

There are over 33 different options for our Hairspray backdrops. Check out all of them on our site under Hairspray show suggestion



Have a Ball with Cinderella Backdrops 

The fairytale of Cinderella, as told by Disney, is one of the world’s most beloved fables of all time. The story is so popular that it has become a phrase used commonly in society to describe a rags-to-riches success story in modern times aptly called  a “Cinderella story.” 

Stories that begin with ‘once upon a time’ often follow a predictable storyline of struggles between good and evil and an outcome that makes everything right in the world. While the story of Cinderella and her evil stepsisters is no different, this story reminds us that a little kindness goes a long way.

The Story of Cinderella the Musical 

Cinderella was once a French fairytale called Cendrillon, ou la petite pantoufle de verre (Cinderella or the little glass slipper), and was first published in 1697 in a book written by Charles Perrault. Fast forward a few centuries, Cinderella was remade into a musical based upon this original writing and with music by Richard Rodgers and a book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

As the story goes, Cinderella was the only child of a nobleman who remarried and she gained two stepsisters and a stepmother from that union. All three women were vain and loathed the kindness and sweetness of Cinderella. They clothed her in rags and made her work the most demeaning chores in the home including washing the floors and cleaning up after her stepsisters. Despite her circumstances, Cindrella continued to be a kind and patient person who was a dutiful daughter and sister. 

One day a local prince decided to hold a royal ball. She helped make all the arrangements for her stepsisters and stepmother to attend in lovely ballgowns and jewels. She, however, was not allowed to attend the ball. 

As she sat there crying on the evening of the big event, a Fairy Godmother appeared who would help her prepare for the ball because she was such a good girl, sister, and daughter. The magic of the Fairy Godmother transformed a pumpkin, six mice, and her clothing into a royal chariot, six horsemen, and the most beautiful ballgown there ever was right down to the glass slippers adorned on her feet. 

As the story goes, Cinderella attended the ball only to have the best night of her life with the young prince. As the clock struck twelve, however, Cinderella’s dream evening came to an abrupt end as the magic wore off. The young prince spent many days trying to find the beautiful girl who stole his heart. In the end, Cinderella’s prince found her and they all lived happily ever after. 

Backdrops for Cinderella 

Several settings are required for the musical Cinderella to successfully draw the audience into the story. Two of the most important include Cinderella and her stepfamily’s home in what is described as a European-style home near farmlands. 

european villageThe backdrop called ​​European Village #2553 is appropriate to set the stage for the life that Cinderella was living with her cruel stepmother and vain stepsisters. Specifically, this backdrop includes Tudor-style buildings in the center of a European town and distant mountains. 

Another main setting in the story of Cinderella is the palace of the young prince where he holds his royal ball. This Palace Interior Backdrop #2500 shows a royal staircase and purple draperies adorning the large ornate windows. 

For a full list of our options for Cinderella backdrops please visit our website where you will be able to sort my musical or show. 

Beauty and the beast

The Best Backdrops for Beauty & The Beast 

The story is “old as time” and the theatrical adaptation of the love story of Beauty and the Beast will captivate audience members young and old. Whether it is your theater group, community theater, or a Broadway performance, Backdrops by Charles Stewart has you covered with more than 50 backdrop options for this Disney favorite. 

What Is the Story of Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast tells the unlikely and mysterious story of how a fair young maiden meets a grotesque beast and how they eventually fall in love. 

The story begins with the plight of a young and arrogant prince who is cursed by a mysterious enchantress until he can love and be loved by another person. His curse is to appear as an ugly and monstrous beast. He has until a magical rose loses its last petal to convince another to love him or he will remain a beast forever. 

Many years after he is cursed, Maurice, an inventor from a nearby village, wanders into the woods and accidentally trespasses on the Beast’s property. The Beast immediately imprisons him rather than choosing to help this older man who is simply lost. 

Bell, Maurice’s daughter, becomes aware of her father’s predicament and offers to take the place of her sickly father in the prison to save him from what would surely be a death sentence. 

The Beast agrees to her promise to stay with him in the castle forever, where she eventually gets to know the Beast for who he really is rather than just what he appears to be on the outside. Their love blossoms and they fall in with the help of some unlikely household items named Mrs. Potts (the teapot), Cogsworth (the clock), Chip, the teacup), and Lumiere (the candlestick). 

Backdrops for Beauty and the Beast 

Whether you are hoping to portray a European village where young Belle lives or the castle the Beast calls home, we have more than 50 beautiful drops that can set the stage perfectly for your performance. Let’s explore a few of our options. 

This Tavern Interior Backdrop #2502 shows a rustic tavern interior with a stone fireplace, tables, wooden barrels, hunting trophies, and wagon wheel chandeliers. This is where we first meet Gaston, a huntsman and suitor for Belle, who continues to pursue her after a gentle rejection.

As Belle and the Beast get to know each other, they spend lots of time in his castle. This Palace Ballroom Backdrop #3102 shows an ornate ballroom with gold leaf, a red ceiling, and large windows.

Or depending on the aesthetic you are seeking, this Palace Ballroom Backdrop #2505

Depicts a grand ballroom with rows of large glass windows, marble columns, and fancy drapery.

Check out all of our Beauty and the Beast backdrops for your next production.