“Bridgerton” The Musical Takes TikTok by Storm


Abigail Barlow (left) and Emily Bear (right) have taken TikTok and the musical theatre world by storm with “Bridgerton” the musical. (Courtesy of Twitter)

With Broadway shows suspended since March, many theatre lovers are missing the joy of being immersed in a live musical. Two musicians Abigail Barlow, 22, and Emily Bear, 19, have found a way to fill this void by turning the Netflix series “Bridgerton” into a TikTok musical. 

“Bridgerton” takes place in a fantasized version of Regency era England. The show, which is now the most streamed series on Netflix, follows young members of high society through the debutante season as they search for love and lust.  

Barlow and Bear immediately fell in love with the series when they first watched it in December. Barlow thought the story would make a perfect musical, so she put her theory to the test, writing several songs and posting them on TikTok. Turns out, she was right. People loved the songs she created. A few days after Barlow posted the first video, which now has over two million views, she announced that she was recruiting her friend, Bear, to help with the project. Since then, they have written eight full-length songs for the “Bridgerton” musical. 

The duo, called Barlow&Bear, met while working on another musical project and immediately clicked. Barlow is a pop singer-songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama. Since middle school, she knew she wanted a career in music, and her hard work and ambition have allowed her to achieve that goal. She is now a verified artist on Spotify and has almost half a million monthly listeners. 

Bear is a composer as well as a trained classical and jazz pianist from Rockford, Illinois. When she was just five years old, she made her professional debut as a pianist at the Ravinia Festival, the oldest outdoor music festival in the United States. Since then, her accolades pile up to include ASCAP Concert Music Composer of the Year, Herb Alpert Jazz Composer of the Year and W Magazine’s “It Girl” of the year. She has performed on many famous stages including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. 

Barlow and Bear’s talents complement each other well —Barlow even describes them as being like yin and yang —so it’s not surprising that “Bridgerton” the musical has been such a success. Since the release of the first video, the musical has blown up far beyond TikTok. Professionals have approached the duo to develop the project further, while several “Bridgerton” cast members have commended their success. They are also considering pitching the show to Broadway when it reopens to the public. They have partnered up with Lea Tucker and Emry Wride, of ELChoreography, to create dance numbers to all of the songs, making it even more of a possibility for the show to materialize. 

Despite the widespread success they have found, Barlow and Bear have not abandoned their following on TikTok. They still post regular videos documenting their songwriting journey, grossing millions of views on each video. Their videos typically include short segments of songs they have completed or are working on as well as updates on their progress. Tucker and Wride are also popular on TikTok, posting short “concept videos” of the dance numbers. 

Barlow and Bear often do TikTok livestreams while they are working, allowing fans to be a part of the songwriting process. By bringing a musical to TikTok, people who may have never been to a theatre before are now being exposed to the world of musicals. The musical theatre world is a very gatekept community, Barlow explains to NPR, “people are discovering musical theater for the first time that have never been able to have access to it before.” Not only are tickets to Broadway musicals expensive, but the elitist attitude of many theatres can be intimidating to those who have never been to a show before. 

Barlow and Bear are trying to break down those barriers and bring musical theatre to a platform that everyone can access. Those who were already fans of theatre are loving the series as well. People miss theatre and this is the escape they need during the pandemic. 

These two young women have successfully drawn in new and seasoned musical theatre fans through this creative project they devised. Regardless of all the success they have had, they’re still just having fun. Barlow explained to NPR, “We’re just two girls, like, having fun writing music in our bedroom.”