Category Archives: Nutcracker

Prepare for Winter Performances of The Nutcracker 

Nothing quite says the holiday season like the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree, the taste of a batch of eggnog, or the sounds of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite ballet playing throughout the home. 

This ballet has delighted adults and children alike for over a hundred years in one form or another. While the original 20-minute performance of the late 1800s was not a complete success, the 1960 version has become wildly popular ​​and is now performed by countless ballet companies, primarily during the Christmas season, especially in North America.

The Story of the Nutcracker Suite 

The story of the Nutcracker Suite is loosely based on the E.T.A. Hoffmann fantasy story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, about a girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King.

The ballet opens with a view inside the Stahlbaums home, a large and well-adorned house with the largest Christmas tree imaginable. The children, Clara and Fritz Stahlbaum are dancing around welcoming visitors to their holiday party. The party is festive and happy with family and friends in attendance for the holidays. 

When godfather Drosselmeyer, a toymaker, arrives, he presents two life-size dolls to the family. He also gives Clara a beautiful Nutcracker that quickly becomes the hit of the party. Unfortunately, her younger brother breaks the Nutcracker in his youth and excitement of the night. Clara is heartbroken but satisfied when her godfather is able to repair the gift. 

After the partygoers leave and Clara falls asleep with her Nutcracker she begins to experience some strange events. She awakes to find the Christmas tree growing and herself shrinking. The scene becomes a fight scene with the toys around the tree coming to life while the room fills with an army of mice, led by the fierce Mouse King. As the Nutcracker also awakens, he leads his army of toy soldiers into battle with the mice. The Nutcracker can fight no longer but is saved by Clara. 

The scene shifts to a land of snow where the Nutcracker has become a prince and Clara a princess. The snowflakes dancing around her make for a beautiful scene of snow and winter wonderland. 

From there the Nutcracker prince escorts Clara to the Land of Sweets where she is greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Prince tells the Fairy about their daring battle with the army of mice and she rewards them with a celebration of dances.

After her dreamy adventures, Clara awakens by the Christmas tree holding her beloved Nutcracker. 

Backdrop Suggestions for the Nutcracker Suite 

Since the ballet begins at the Stahlbaums home, a formal home backdrop will serve the performance well. This Conservatory Backdrop #N0451 is a neutral Victorian interior with a center staircase leading up to a conservatory.

As Clara fades off to sleep in the living room under the decorated Christmas tree, this Growing Christmas Tree Backdrop #2245 is a perfect way to make the magic of the ballet come to life. 

During Clara’s dream, she visits a snowy landscape as well as the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy with her prince, the Nutcracker. Both of these backdrops will help set the stage for each iconic scene in the ballet. 

The Winter Landscape Backdrop #3242 provides a winter landscape at night with snow-covered mountains and trees.

The Palace of Sweets Backdrop #2544 shows a whimsical palace with frosted cakes inside of candy cane archways.

Want to view more backdrops for the Nutcracker? Check out our full slate of options here


Victorian Home

Our Favorite Nutcracker Backdrops For Your Show

Can you smell it in the air? Temperatures are dropping, seasons are changing, and we are rushing headlong into the busy holiday season. Christmas is just a couple of months away! That means holiday music will soon begin to play, stores will be decked out in visions of yuletide greetings, and theater performances depicting the magic of the season will be right around the corner. 

The Nutcracker is one such ballet performance that we have always been fond of here at Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart. In fact, we love the Nutcracker ballet so much we have over 130 Nutcracker backdrops to set the scene for your next performance of this famous theatrical event. 

The Story of the Nutcracker

The Nutcracker ballet is based on the story, “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman. While the ballet is slightly different from the original storyline, the basic plot remains the same. 

The story opens on Christmas Eve in the late nineteenth century at the Von Stahlbaum home where Clara and her brother Fritz are excitedly preparing for the next day with family, friends, and guests. As last minute preparations are made for Christmas day the brother and sister join Herr Drosselmeyer, Clara’s mysterious godfather for games and stories.

Drosselmeyer keeps the children and guests entertained with magic tricks and mechanical dolls. While Clara would love to have one of these dolls to keep for herself, she is instead presented with a wooden nutcracker soldier. 

Clara is devastated when a struggle causes the nutcracker doll to fall and break. Her godfather mends the pieces and sends his goddaughter off to bed where her dream then becomes what we know as the Nutcracker Suite! 

Nutcracker Backdrops for Every Scene

Each scene of the Nutcracker ballet takes us through the imagery that Clara creates as she dreams about the Nutcracker soldiers and Mouse King coming to life in her Victorian era home.

Interior Victorian Home

Scene I – The Party Scene

It is this Act , known as the “Party Scene”  and eventual “Battle Scene” where Clara and her family gather for the holiday that can be beautifully set by some of our “Palace” backdrop options. The elegant staircase and stately columns set the stage for a grand room that is in the final stages of preparation for Christmas celebrations.

Interior Victorian Home

More of our Victorian home backdrops include: The Drawing Room #1910, Victorian Interior #1943, Victorian Interior #2251, Victorian Interior (with center fireplace) #2264, Christmas Interior #2460, Palace Interior with French doors #2538, Blue Drapery Interior Victorian #2541, and Christmas Interior with cozy fireplace #3148

Snow Forest

Scene II – The Snow Forest 

In addition to the beautifully adorned palace in this act, Clara also travels through an enchanted snow forest where the Snow King and Queen, as well as Snow Maidens dance for Clara. Some of our backdrops are perfect to set the stage such as the Winter Wonderland shown below or: the Snow Forest #2474, Snow Landscape #2240, and Snow Forest Backdrop #1863.


Scene III – The Sweets 

During this act, Clara celebrates the defeat of the Mouse King with the Sugar Plum Fairy as highlighted by many noteworthy dances such as Waltz of the Flowers, Dance of the Dew Drop Fairy and, of course, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. 

Candy Land

We have several backdrops for rent that would make the perfect setting for this “Palace of Sweets” portion of the ballet. 

Here are links to several others that would be appropriate for Act II of the Nutcracker: Palace of Sweets #2274, Land of Sweets #1853, and Palace of Sweets (with rotunda) #1946

No matter what version of the Nutcracker your organization is performing, we can help you find the perfect backdrop to set the stage for your holiday performance.