Mary Poppins Returns is, Yet Again, Practically Perfect in Every Way!

In 2018, Disney and theater fans across the world were gifted with Mary Poppins Returns. As a sequel to the original movie, an anticipated 54 years later, Mary Poppins is back with her bag of tricks to help the Banks children. The movie is now finally in theaters, so we knew a blog dedicated to the classic and timeless story was beyond necessary.

There are so many elements of this follow-up of the first movie. Director Rob Marshall knew he couldn’t remake such an original and monumental movie, but he knew the team could still incorporate some elements to keep that same authenticity and bring Mary Poppins back to life.

 

We’ll talk about some of the elements of Mary Poppins Returns in this blog, but don’t worry, no spoiler alerts here. This sequel takes place in London starring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, and even includes appearances from Dick Van Dyke! Dick Van Dyke played Burt, the chimney sweep, in the original Mary Poppins. He even gets on stage for a dance number! This is an unbelievable surprise for Mary Poppins fans as he’s now 93 years old!

 

Fans are saying that Emily Blunt is the perfect Mary Poppins, pictured to the right. It really brings childhood memories to life for many when Emily Blunt appears in the sky and descends from the clouds.

 

With the return of some favorite characters from the original, Mary Poppins lovers will not be disappointed. The writers and directors even included the animations that fans loved oh so much from the original version of the film. Animations include the original penguins dancing and tons of colorful, fun scenes.

 

Mary Poppins Returns Poster

 

You can watch the behind-the-scenes footage of how Mary Poppins Returns was made. It’s beautiful to see cast and crew from the original movie on the set of the sequel, commenting about the same energy and passion on set that was present during the making of the first movie. In the behind-the-scenes footage, we also get to see what went into casting the second film, and how important it was to cast the right actors for such big roles. As the original Mary Poppins was cast as Julie Andrews, Emily Blunt opens up about what it meant to play her version of Mary Poppins. We also get the inside scoop from the children cast as the Banks children, and what it was like working on set. The trailers, behind-the-scenes, and introductions to Mary Poppins Returns builds quite the anticipation. When you finally see the movie, you won’t be dissatisfied. It’s practically perfect in every way!

 

When are you going to see the movie in theaters? Tell us how you liked it after you see it with family, friends, and your biggest Disney fans. Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart has been your leading edge scenic design and backdrop rental company for over 120 years! Come to us with your theatrical needs to enhance your production with well over 1,500 backdrops, drapes, lames and scrims to choose from. We are here to serve all your backdrop and scenic design needs.

Detailed, Intricate, Stunning – and All-New For You

At Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart, we’re always adding new backdrops to our inventory. We wrote this blog to highlight some of our new backdrops and give you inspiration and guidance when choosing which backdrops to include in your set design or staging.

 

Check out this elegant drapery backdrop. We added this backdrop to our inventory because we knew our clients would love it. Related products to this novelty, drapery backdrop are extremely popular at this time of year. Use this backdrop for an elementary, high school, or college level dance recital. This backdrop works perfectly for Old English productions and Shakespearean plays and dramas. There are three selections of this backdrop available, all with bright, bursting colors and beautiful, large tassels.

elegant drapery

https://charleshstewart.com/product/elegant-drapery-backdrop/

 

Here’s a new backdrop of a Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City. This one is featuring an elevated train, the George Washington Bridge, and the skyline of New York in the background. This backdrop is made for productions like Little Shop of Horrors, West Side Story, Annie, Hello Dolly, and so many more city-themed productions. With the intricate skylines and beautiful detail in this backdrop, this hanging backdrop can be a captivating addition to your set design.

New York Street Backdrop

https://charleshstewart.com/product/new-york-street-backdrop/

 

Forest backdrops are perfect for productions like Into The Woods, The Jungle Book, Madagascar, Cinderella, The Lion King, and so many more. The extravagant colors, lush green woods, and calming vegetation make for a beautiful background to set the stage.

woods scene backdrop

https://charleshstewart.com/product/forest-backdrop/

 

These backdrops are always in season and work for so many productions. We always recommend productions for certain backdrops to help you categorize and plan your thoughts. If you’re hosting a dance recital, play or production, or holding a celebratory event, a backdrop can bring your event to life in a way like no other. Engage with your audience from the moment the curtain is raised.

 

If you have questions about any of these new backdrops, reach out to us at (978) 682-5757. We’re here to answer your questions and help make your productions a success, every time.

 

Did you enjoy this blog? Share this to your Facebook feed, and let us know what you think. Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart has been your leading edge scenic design and backdrop rental company for over 120 years! Come to us with your theatrical needs to enhance your production with well over 1,500 backdrops, drapes, lames and scrims to choose from.

Tips for More Efficient Set Designs

Set design is one of the most important aspects of the production. The set design team has the responsibility of creating a dynamic set that not only agrees with the consistent theme and genre of the production but is also easy to lift and quick to assemble and disassemble. Read this blog to learn how you can better design your set for efficiency, functionality and, ultimately, success.

Before you dive into what you need and want for your next set design, decide what you don’t need and want. Rid the possibility of any clutter in your set design or on your stage, as it’s distracting to the audience and can get in the way of your production. Every piece, prop, and accessory is placed on set for a reason! Don’t include unnecessary or superfluous items in your set. Decide what you really need, and scratch the small details that you think are unimportant to the plot of the story.

 

 

Think about the size and weight of your props. Heavy props may lead to someone tripping, dropping something, or causing an accident on set. When props are included in any scenes, lightweight materials really come in handy. Heavy props can make it look like the actor is struggling to move or pick up something, and you wouldn’t want them to struggle or stumble. As the curtain is up, ensure all main props used by actors are light enough and easy to manage.

 

 

Investing in materials that are lightweight will allow for ease and efficiency throughout every aspect of the production. It makes switching scenes a breeze for the set and crew. When your materials are lighter, the team can move more quickly and easily. This keeps your audience more engaged with less waiting time between scenes and transitions. Consider lightweight wood, plastic materials, and props that can hang or be put in place effortlessly.

 

 

Consider your stage, the seating of your audience, and the auditorium you’ll be in when performing. This will help you plan your set design. You want to make sure your props are visible from all angles and seats in the house.

 

 

If you’re looking for a backdrop to put the finishing touch on your set design, consider renting a backdrop. Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart are easy to hang, durable, lightweight, and absolutely stunning. You can find a backdrop for almost any production imaginable in the inventory.

 

Think outside the box with your set design. Just because your props will be lightweight and easy to manage does not mean they can’t be intricate and unique. Decide on a theme for your set design. Are you going with the “less is more” theme? Or are you going to include simple yet multiple props in every scene? Each production will entail a different set design.

 

Did you enjoy this blog? Share this to your Facebook feed, and let us know what you think. Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart has been your leading edge scenic design and backdrop rental company for over 120 years! Come to us with your theatrical needs to enhance your production with well over 1,500 backdrops, drapes, lames, and scrims to choose from.

 

Answering Basic Questions

  • What suggestions do you have on choosing a backdrop for a dance or for a whole dance recital?

Obviously, the first question to be answered is what is the theme of the dance or show?  Once that is determined, finding an appropriate backdrop is relatively easy.  Our backdrops are broken down into categories and by show.  So if someone is looking for a garden backdrop, they should go to our Garden category.  If someone needs a backdrop for Beauty and the Beast, then they can go to our Beauty and the Beast selections.

  • If a studio owner can only have one backdrop for the entire show, what would you recommend?

If only one backdrop can be used, then the owner really has to decide what the overall theme for their show will be.  We could provide a great backdrop for a small portion of their show, but the backdrop might not fit the rest of the show.  My suggestion is that if there is more tap, jazz, and hip hop, then one of our abstract or novelty backdrops would be an excellent choice.  If the show is more of a ballet, maybe a softer scene like clouds or a sunset for example would be the choice.  Another option would be to use different colored lights on a cyclorama curtain.  A simple lighting change can turn the mood of the stage in an instant.  But again, it really is up to the director.

  • What information and dimensions do studio owners need to know before renting a backdrop?

The first thing they should do is talk to the stage manager where they are performing.  They can tell you what size backdrops the venue can accommodate.  Also, when finding out the dimensions of the stage, make sure that when you get the measurements to ask if that is the wall to wall measurement or the proscenium measurement.  Also, ask if the venue can adjust the proscenium for different size backdrops.  For instance, if the venue states that the backdrops should be 22×50, ask if they can mask down the proscenium for an 18×42 or even a 15×36.  It usually isn’t that difficult to drop a border or pull in the wings unless the battens are dead hung (i.e. they don’t drop to the stage).   Now if it’s a small stage, the larger backdrops might be difficult to use.  Another bit of information that would be helpful is to find out how many battens are at your disposal for hanging backdrops.

  • What is the difference between a hand painted and digitally painted backdrop?  What are the pros/cons of each?

Well, we only deal in hand painted backdrops.  Obviously, the hand painted backdrops are more theatrical since they really are a form of art.  Sometimes the digitally printed backdrops aren’t as clear as you might think.  Some can be a little blurry.  The fabrics used for each are different as well.  The hand painted backdrops are typically painted on muslin or scrims and are easy to fold and store.  The digital backdrops are usually printed on a polyester blend fabric and are meant to be rolled.  However, new technology with softer fabrics is starting to emerge.  The digital backdrops are more expensive to produce and not readily available for rent meaning if you want a digital printed backdrop, it would more than likely have to be a custom made one.

  • What are your tips on hanging backdrops for studio owners that have never done so before?  How does a backdrop get hung and what do studio owners need to know ahead of time?

All of our backdrops have grommets and ties across the top for hanging.  You simply tie the backdrop on to one of the stage battens.  One question to ask the stage manager is if the bars can lower down to the stage.  If they do, hanging a backdrop will take about 5-10 minutes.  If the bars do not lower to the stage, then you will have to go up and down a ladder or cherry picker to hang the backdrop, and it will take about 30 minutes to hang one backdrop.  Side note, if you use a cherry picker, please be careful of the lubricated parts of the machine.  If a backdrop comes in contact with the grease, the backdrop will get stained.  And it’s a nasty stain to try to get out.  When hanging, start from the center and work your way out to the ends.  The center line on the backdrop is marked on the back.  The center of the stage should be marked on the bars.  If you have more backdrop than bar, just fold it back and tie it off behind the rest of the drop.

  • What tips do you have to have backdrops look best without wrinkles?

Wrinkles are tricky.  You cannot iron or steam the backdrop.  That will damage the curtain by activating the paint creating water stains or paint runs.  So, my best advice is to hang the backdrop at the venue as soon as possible.  The first chance you get to hang them up, do it.  Second thing to do is make sure that you weight the bottom of the backdrop.  All of my backdrops have a pipe pocket along the bottom.  Ask the venue if they have weights for this.  The weight simply uses gravity to pull the fabric tight to eliminate the wrinkles.

  • How should backdrops be folded for storage or return shipping?

We store our backdrops wrapped in plastic bags inside of cardboard boxes.  The plastic is an extra layer of protection from moisture and dirt.  So when the backdrops are received, they will arrive as such.  There will also be folding instructions inside the box.  There are different ways to fold a backdrop.  We have our own preference which are included in the instructions we provide.  But, the bottom line is to fold them neatly so that they fit back inside the box for shipping.  We also request that our backdrops be placed back inside of a plastic bag and inside the box just like when they received it.  If anything happens in transit, and the backdrop has not been wrapped in plastic and damage has occurred, the customer will be responsible for the damage.  So, when you receive the backdrop, save the box, the bag, and the instructions and repackage the backdrop the way you received it.  If the bag and/or box gets thrown away or is not fit for shipping, then the customer is responsible to get another box and bag for the return.  And lastly, before you lay the backdrop on the stage for hanging or when you are taking it down to repackage, sweep the stage.  We don’t want the backdrop used as the broom especially when you have any of the white or black curtains.

Winter Backdrops for Events and Productions

Winter-Trees-Legs-Backdrop

 

During the winter months, there’s a lot going on. We have holidays, the kids are off from school on breaks and vacations, and family is around to visit. There are tons of special events, gatherings, productions, parties, and plays from November through February. These colder months bring holiday cheer, sweet treats, and lots of hot cocoa.

No matter what you’re planning, or what events or productions are during this time of year, you can design an amazing setup with a beautiful winter background to set the scene. Take advantage of the time of year to curate a beautiful setting. Renting a backdrop can be easy for your production or event, and makes the scene or the room look whole and complete.

Winter-Forest-Tab-Backdrop

 

If you are putting on a holiday production at a school or for a drama club, look into our Dickens Street Backdrops. These beautiful backdrops depict Tudor-style buildings with snowy roofs. These backdrops are a classic choice and work perfectly for all kinds of holiday or winter shows.

Our Snowy Landscape Backdrops are great for creating the winter mood. If you’re holding a holiday event, and want a seasonal backdrop to set the mood, look into these snowy landscape backdrops. We have tons of different styles of trees, some with hills and mountains, and different types of snowfall on trees. Look into a snow-covered hillside, or fir trees covered with heavy snow to set the mood for your winter event.

Dickens-Street-Cut-Backdrop

 

If you’re having a holiday party, you can rent a winter backdrop for whatever age your party or celebration is catered to. Our Snowflake Backdrop is perfect for a children’s party during the winter. Our Snow Forest Backdrop is a classic and would be perfect at any holiday party or celebration.

Planning events or productions requires many steps in the process. When you’re ready to think about setup, design, and curation, look to our backdrops to really set the mood for whatever you’re planning this winter season. Add a finishing touch to your production, event, or party with a beautiful winter backdrop from Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart.  

Holiday Productions to See This Season

Grinch Production

When Christmas time comes around, there are tons of Christmas festivities in which to participate. Musical theater is a great way to celebrate the holiday. Catch a show with some friends, or enjoy a night with family and go to dinner and a show. When you haven’t seen family or friends in so long, there’s no better way to catch up and spend time together than to go see a musical or a Christmas play. Our busy schedules make it hard to see the family year-round, especially if you live far from your loved ones. When you finally do get to see the ones you love, make these moments even more special with an inspiring and family-oriented musical.

We have listed some of the most popular shows during the holiday season. These favorite holiday shows will have everyone excited to spend a night out together. Which show will you and your family attend?

 

  • The Shubert Theater in Boston is Putting on A Charlie Brown Christmas from November 29 until Dec 2, 2018. If you have younger ones in the family, the kids will definitely enjoy this show.

 

  • See A Christmas Carol at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA. Presented by The Berkshire Theatre Group, this show will be running from December 8 through December 22, 2018. This is definitely a show the whole family will love. It’s also running at the North Shore Music Theatre from December 7 to December 23, 2018.

 

charlie brown xmas

  • If you’re looking to travel to NY for the holidays, you’ll love this one. The Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes runs from November 9, 2018, through January 1, 2019.

 

  • The Boston Ballet is presenting The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House from November 29 to December 30, 2018. The Nutcracker is a classic and an all-time favorite of many.

 

  • The Wang Theatre is presenting How the Grinch Stole Christmas from November 28 to December 9, 2018. See one of the most renowned holiday stories presented live at the Wang Theatre.

 

  • See Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Capitol Center for the Arts on December 4, 2018.

rudolph production

These shows are great options for celebrating the holiday cheer. We hope this list helps you decide on a show to see this season. If you don’t find much that appeals to you on this list, stay up to date with our social media this month. This may inspire you in other directions, as we’ll be posting about all things holiday theater for the month of December! If you have questions about putting on your own holiday production this season, we can help. Contact Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart at (978) 682-5757.

 

November Calls For Thanksgiving Productions & Parades

 

Thanksgiving: The holiday comes around every November, bringing together communities, families, and friends. When the season comes, we decorate: floats and stages light up with colors and designs, and streets are lined with smiling faces.

For young children and kids, Thanksgiving can be one of the most exciting, expressive and theatrical parts of the year. Parades allow for communities to come together, as people love giving thanks and showing appreciation when the season takes off.

September is the start of the school year, and students are happy to be getting into the groove of things with a new teacher and new classmates. Thanksgiving brings about themes of unity, kindness, and connecting with your roots. Students take the stage, and teachers and directors teach incorporate history lessons through productions. This educational opportunity is also an opportunity for children to be creative and express themselves.

The first Thanksgiving is always one of the most loved productions performed among children ages k-5. This play surrounds the first English settlers coming to the ‘new land’ of America. Themes of this play teach children about following their dreams, aspirations, persevering, and meeting goals.

Thanksgiving School Play

Plymouth Rock is said to be the first piece of land in which the English settlers touched down. This is always a favorite element of Thanksgiving productions in schools. This is often taught by highlighting the interactions between the English and the Native people of this land. This aims to teach people about working together, acceptance, and coexisting. Many Thanksgiving productions also include elements of the Mayflower, the ship in which the English settlers traveled.

When it comes to Thanksgiving parades, there is so much decorating to do on your float! Look to backdrops, interesting props and a cool set design for your float to really capture the essence of the holiday, and still represent your organization. When your family and friends line the street in excitement, you’ll want to showcase your group, club, or your communities hard work in the best way possible. If you’re looking for ideas/inspiration for this year’s float, check out our catalog.

The props, set designs, and costumes for Thanksgiving productions and parades can be extensive and colorful. Children and community members love getting involved, and learning something along the way. No matter what you’re looking for, let Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart inspire your Thanksgiving festivities this year.

A Performing Arts Center to Be Built at Fenway Park

 

FSG (Fenway Sports Group) has announced plans to build a theater and performing arts center at Fenway Park. We all know Fenway to be home of the Boston Red Sox, and Fenway Park itself is the true representation of the American pastime.

To think of a performing arts center going into Fenway is an unreal thought for theatergoers and fun-lovers. The center will be located on the triangular area behind the right-field bleachers. The theater is expected to hold 5,000 people!

Chairman of FSG Tom Werner explained the purpose and possibility of the venue. “The success of Fenway Park as a year-round venue has paved the way for this project, which will ensure the Lansdowne Street area remains a true entertainment district in Boston. To have an intimate, indoor performing arts space for smaller-scale events will allow for a wider array of uses throughout the year.” The performing arts center will work with schools and other local organizations to share this space and hold events.

As noted in the press release, “The Fenway Theater will be owned by FSG and operated by a newly formed joint venture, Fenway Music Company, a partnership between Fenway Sports Management (FSM) and Crossroads Presents, a concert promotion and venue management company…”

What does this mean for Boston? Thinking of the excited, welcoming, and supportive crowds in which the red sox games attract only excites us, even MORE, to think of the energy that will surround these performances and productions.

We can see the visitors and residents of Boston and surrounding areas absolutely loving this venue. Let us know what you think by connecting through social media. Comment and even share this blog for those who haven’t heard the news! We can’t wait to see what’s next for Fenway Park, and this awesome space to be.

October Means: All Things Tim Burton

Tim Burton

For the month of October, we thought we’d highlight the most renowned horror directors and producers. Known most commonly for his dark and eccentric fantasy films like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd, and so many more, this writer and animator has dominated the arts with all things spooky.

You guessed it, ladies and gentlemen. We give you, Mr. Tim Burton! Let’s highlight two of his most beloved productions.

Edward Scissorhands
This was one of the spookiest yet most creative and popular works of Tim Burton in 1990. He co-wrote and directed this with Caroline Thompson, as he did with The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride. It was about Edward, half human, half an unfinished product as a creation of an inventor.

Shot in Lakeland, Florida, the film tells much of Burton’s life and childhood in Burbank. Edward Scissorhands aired as a ballet in 2005, and toured the U.S, Canada, Australia, and Europe.

edward scissorhands

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Burton produced this in 1993 for Disney, and was originally meant to be a children’s story. The film was directed by Henry Selick and written by Burton along with Caroline Thompson.

This production was one of the most popular in the box offices with revenues of over $50 million. It was most popular for its animation, and remains recognized for its unique style.

Horror and fantasy shows make for great theatrical productions. Many people love to see the spookiness, especially right on stage. Burton has gone down in horror production history, and we can’t help but think of him during this season.

Have you seen any of these productions as plays? Which one was your favorite? Were you cast or did you watch from the audience? Versions of Tim Burton pieces are often chosen for theatrical productions and musicals. Comment and share, as we want to hear from you!

Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart has been your leading edge scenic design and backdrop rental company for over 120 years! Come to us with your theatrical needs to enhance your production with well over 1,500 backdrops, drapes, lames and scrims to choose from. Call us at (978) 682-5757 today!

London’s 8th Annual Horror Theatre Festival

spooky scene

For the 8th year, London’s Horror Festival has finally been announced. Hosted at the Red Lion Theatre with over 30 productions, this Halloween season will have theatergoers and horror lovers chilling with fright, and extremely impressed.

London’s Horror Film will be offering dramas, comedies, musicals, and spoken word about all things spooky starting October 7th. Each year there is a theme for their annual playwright competition, and this year they are honoring Mary Shelley for the competition of “Women in Horror.” Her most renowned creation, Frankenstein, has its 200th year anniversary in 2018.

Catch tons of theater productions that truly push the limits of live production and performance. You are bound to find something you love, and something to make you really think when you attend a festival like this.

Scary ghost scene

Theater festivals are an awesome time for people to come together and bond over a common interest. When it’s a special reason for celebration, like a themed or holiday theater festival like this one, it can be even more interesting. Though this festival is in London, we can tune in and see what this annual horror fest will bring theater-goers and thespians.

If you’re REALLY into festivals, even horror fests, this might be something you want to follow on social media, inquire about, and maybe even travel to see.

Jackolanterns

Backdrops by Charles H. Stewart has been your leading edge scenic design and backdrop rental company for over 120 years! Come to us with your theatrical needs to enhance your production with well over 1,500 backdrops, drapes, lames and scrims to choose from. Call us at (978) 682-5757 today!