By now you've probably not only heard of "Bridgerton," but you've also ravenously binged the "Gossip Girl"-esque period piece that is equal parts sweet and provocative. Like the rest of the world, Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear also binge-watched the Netflix hit, but these two gifted musicians turned their love for the series into a viral TikTok musical.
"We were obsessed with the show. Who doesn't love it? There's so much drama, such great storytelling and I finished bingeing it and there was one piece of dialogue that stood out among the rest, and I flew to my piano," Barlow told TMRW via Zoom. "The character Henry Granville says, 'You have no idea what it's like to be in a room with someone you can't live without and feel like you're oceans away from them' and I was like, that's a song right there."
Barlow, 22, took a leap and wrote the first song, "Daphne's Song," and shared it on the social media platform. A pop singer and protege of Meghan Trainor, most of Barlow's TikTok videos prior promoted her bourgeoning pop career. But this one went viral.
"I think it's a really dark time in the world and I think everyone is looking for an escape, something to, you know, bring some light back into the world," Barlow said. "I think, because this project ... already had a built-in audience — people who cared about the characters and who loved it — so when they heard music exploring the characters in a way they hadn't been before, people really identified with it."
Bear, who at 19 years old has already extensively studied classic piano, jazz piano and composition at Julliard and New York University, saw the viral moment like everyone else and knew she had to be part of this musical-making magic.
"I heard the song that she started and I was like, 'Oh my God.' We have to do this," she said.
Bear and Barlow, who respectively hail from Chicago and Birmingham, Alabama, are now based in Los Angeles. The pair met after they were brought together to work on another musical project and became close friends in the process. So they knew they had to team up and continue writing new content for "Bridgerton: The Musical."
"And so then we just, we were separated," Bear explained. "I was in one place, she was in one place and then we're like, we need to get in a room together because when we write it's very like boom boom boom boom, very fast like bouncing things off of each other and we can do it on Zoom but there's nothing like being in the same room writing."
"We write incredibly fast together, so it's just sort of like a yin-and-yang situation when we write," Barlow added. "Our skill sets are so complementary. And so when I am I lacking in a place or I'm losing my inspiration, she always knows what to do."
The musical-writing duo have written 11 songs and counting for "Bridgerton: The Musical," including many solo numbers for the lead characters, everyone from Penelope Featherington to Queen Charlotte.
"All the characters are really special and I also feel like there's a character for everyone. There’s a character for mom or a character for people who don't care about romance," Bear said. "Also, they told the story so beautifully, like you have all of these different plots happening at the same time, but you're never confused. There's always something leading you on and making you want to watch the next episode, and the love story is so beautiful."
Many cast members have gushed about their love for the musical in interviews, and some have even reached out or started following the pair's accounts to keep up with their progress. Even "Bridgerton" author Julia Quinn has reached out, and "just been overwhelmingly supportive" of what they're doing.
The end goal? Broadway, of course. But in the meantime, they plan to execute a concept album.
The best part for them, though, has been seeing how their creation has inspired others to create as well, whether its TikTok users singing along to the instrumental versions, choreographing entire dance sequences to the songs, creating Playbills, designing costumes or building mock sets.
"It's been really, really cool to see, even other creatives piggyback on this idea that we had two weeks ago and create more incredible art," Barlow said.
Bear continued, "It's insane. To have created something that inspired so many people to tap into their own creativity is honestly the coolest part for us. Because we're creators ourselves and we thrive off of being inspired and so the fact that we can have that effect on other creatives, it's very humbling."