bridgerton
Image: Netflix/ Liam Daniel

Could ‘Bridgerton’ be a musical?

Unless you live under a rock you will have heard of Bridgerton, the Netflix hit original series centring around the lives of two upper class families in Regency-era England. The show has inspired a resurgence of corset-styled fashion, a longing for traditional balls, increased interest in historical period dramas and now… a musical? 

“Where has this idea come from” you might ask? None other than TikTok, of course. Abigail Barlow, a musician whose work has benefited immensely from her presence on the platform, has been posting videos reimagining Bridgerton as a musical. The first song she wrote and posted was from the perspective of Daphne titled ‘Oceans Away’. The song depicts Daphne’s feelings of detachment and simultaneous longing for Simon during one of the many balls they attend.

After the video was posted, interest in the concept of Bridgerton as a musical grew and Abigail, along with her writing partner Emily Bear, began posting more. The second song is an imagined duet between Daphne and Simon titled ‘Burn For you’ inspired by the iconic line from the show. In the song, the characters go back and forth in a heated argument. It blew up on the platform and was quickly followed by more songs, one from the perspective of Penelope Featherington about never being the chosen one. The lyric “it’s like I’m invisible in my own skin” perfectly encapsulates her feelings as an outsider and contextualises a later revelation in the show. Elosie Bridgerton is also given a moment to shine in ‘If I Were a Man’ wishing for more than the gendered role she has been born into.

The Netflix series itself experimented with the use of contemporary music in non-contemporary settings

Abigail has received some criticism for being anachronistic to the time period with her pop influences, but as she was quick to point out the Netflix series itself experimented with the use of contemporary music in non-contemporary settings. The show cleverly includes string quartet covers of Ariana Grande’s ‘Thank U, Next’, Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ and ‘Girls Like You’ by Maroon 5, among others. Showrunner Chris Van Dusen argues many stylistic choices were implemented to make this show feel different to other period dramas: “it all comes back to infusing things through our own unique modern lens and making things feel relatable to whoever’s watching.”  

Abigail has cleverly released instrumental versions of each song on her page allowing other users to duet and sing along with them thus spreading the word and excitement for the musical. Almost 2000 videos have been made for the song ‘Burn for You’ alone. The hashtag ‘bridgertonmusical’ has been trending with contributions accumulating over 24 million views. One user even used their graphic design skills to produce a playbill depicting the shadows of Daphne and Simon against a background of Lady Whistledown’s papers. Other contributors have constructed choreographed dance routines, costume designs and even staging. 

The hashtag ‘bridgertonmusical’ has been trending with contributions accumulating over 24 million views

This is not the first time that Tik Tok has been used for collaborative creative projects. Just a couple of months ago users began reimagining the Disney classic Ratatouille as a musical which actually resulted in a one-off streaming performance with a fully-fledged cast and tickets on sale in support of the Actors Fund. So does the Bridgerton musical have the same, or maybe even more, potential?

The show itself has many aspects that would translate well onto a stage. Not only does Simon and Daphne’s love story work wonderfully as the main narrative, but multiple subplots also emerge revolving around characters that are rich in their tropes, goals and actions. The conflicts from Marina Thompson’s shock pregnancy to Siena Rosso and Anthony Bridgerton’s forbidden love would transpire entertainingly in the theatre. The dual scene between Simon and Anthony in the show particularly feels like a stage performance and I can picture it perfectly in a musical, raising the stakes and tension before the intermission. Inevitably, due to the length of the show, a lot would have to be cut out which would definitely be challenging, but not impossible.

With the popularity of the show, and audiences demanding more, there is so much potential for this project

For now, our dreams of a Bridgerton musical exist in a concept album that Abigail and Emily are currently working hard to produce. Abigail revealed that Netflix had reached out to her for her email, however no further correspondence has occurred as of yet. The musical has also received recognition from Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne, and Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope, as well as Julia Quinn, the author of the books the show is based on. With the popularity of the show, and audiences demanding more, there is so much potential for this project. I, for one, cannot imagine a better welcoming back to theatres once they re-open than a fresh new musical inspired by one of Netflix’s greatest original series.

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