• Emily Young

"Okay, But What If Bridgerton Was A Musical?"

The pandemic-ridden winter break left many of us with the sole choice of huddling under blankets and binge-watching Netflix until it was time to return back to campus. Luckily for us, Netflix released Bridgerton on Christmas day and it would not be a stretch to say that it was the best gift they could have given us. For the next day and a half I sat eating candy from my Christmas stocking and watching all eight episodes. Although I already adore period dramas, this one in particular was beautifully done – and I was not the only one who thought the same. From the flowing gowns to the stunning balls to the Duke himself, Bridgerton captured the hearts of 82 million households and broke Netflix’s records by becoming its fifth largest launch and now takes the title of the most watched series made by Netflix (Andreeva, 2021).

Perhaps one of the most intriguing features of Bridgerton was its use of pop music transformed into classical compositions. String versions of Ariana Grande’s “Thank You, Next”, Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood”, and many other modern hits created by Vitamin String Quartet were used in all of the ball scenes, creating a sense of familiarity for watchers of this Regency Era series.

This is exactly what got the attention of pop artist and Tik Tok star Abigail Barlow. Struck with inspiration after her own binging of Bridgerton, Barlow immediately began writing and uploaded the very first “Bridgerton: The Musical” track to TikTok. With what was initially titled “Daphne’s Song” and is now known as “Ocean Away,” Barlow asked all of her viewers the question “Okay, but what if Bridgerton was a musical?”.

The track immediately went viral, accumulating over 1.8 million views. However, this was not the track that garnered all of the attention the project now has. Hours after uploading “Ocean Away,” Barlow released another 60-second-long bedroom recording of her new song “Burn for You”, which captures the feelings of frustration, passion, and confusion of the relationship between Daphne and the Duke, on TikTok which now has over 5 million views. Both of these tracks are inspired by moments of the show where the emotions present could only best be portrayed in song. This is exactly what Barlow achieves with the help of her co-writer Emily Bear, a classically trained pianist and the “yin to my [Abigail's] yang” (Emily Bear, 2021). Together, the duo has created 11 tracks with a pop songwriting style and a classical composition. Barlow and Bear describe it the best on their own website; their style mashup produces songs that are “singable, hummable, trendy, and somehow familiar” (Barlow and Bear, 2021).

Barlow and Bear include their audience in the writing process every step of the way, going live on TikTok two times each week in order to get their input. This interactive aspect makes the musical experience much more intimate and offers a chance for fans of the show to also become fans of musicals. These two incredibly creative women are changing the way musicals are made through social media and the help of their fans. Barlow and Bear have recently heard from Broadway executives, and although they are staying quiet about the details, they both have aspirations for a concept album – or, ideally, making it to the big stage.

Bridgerton is a perfectly-crafted romance with captivating character dynamics and a setting that makes you wish you were a part of the story, it deserves to be on stage. The original 82 million viewers of the Netflix series, as well as the new fans garnered through TikTok, all seem hopeful for a future “Briderton: The Musical” live on Broadway – and Barlow and Bear are the perfect duo for the job.

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CisternYard Media is the student-run media organization of the College of Charleston. CisternYard consists of six branches that offer a unique way for students to get involved at the College of Charleston: News, Miscellany, Radio, Video, Sales, and Public Relations.

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