For months in quarantine, I have been following the creation of the Unofficial Bridgerton Musical. The unofficial musical is based on the popular Netflix series Bridgerton, which tells the story of a group of high-class elites in London who navigate social scenes and find love. Started and documented on TikTok by Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, the process has been followed by me and many other Bridgerton fans, actors and Broadway stars. Barlow and Bear’s amazing partnership and musical chemistry allowed for the idea to turn into reality.
While Bear specializes in piano and instrumentals, Barlow sings. The album features a mixture of 15 solos and duets—all sung by Barlow—that beautifully tell the story of the characters of Bridgerton as well as showcasing the talent of the two women.
Of the duets, personally, I enjoy Ocean Away because of its magical and Disney-like feel. The song begins with Daphne’s perspective, with a quiet piano in the background. The musical composition and instrument choice perfectly matches the ballroom setting of the song, as a beautiful orchestra joins the piano to meld together behind the lyrics.
“Barlow and Bear’s writing was stunning,” junior Leo Martinez comments.
“I like how, at the end, they connect in a way by saying the same thing,” junior Carolina Pavon applauds the writer’s lyrical and harmonic choice in Ocean Away.
“I can’t even drink champagne/no/ without hearing your/ name/am I the one to blame/ when we’re dancing in the same room/ but you’re an ocean away,” the song laments.
While the lyrics sound beautiful, I also love how clear and blunt they are. It is very easy to tell what the characters are thinking and feeling, as Simon and Daphne’s longing for each other is apparent in the lyrics and also the sound of the emotional harmonies between the two—harmonies featured in not only this song but in Burn for You.
The fast paced and argumentative Burn for You elicits a different feeling than Ocean Away. Burn for You is focused on Simon and Daphne’s tense honeymoon and begins with an argumentative internal dialogue between the two. Situated as one of the first songs of the album, it marks the start of the couple’s complicated and passionate relationship. Even the title of the song, which is the main harmony, captures this feeling.
A rendition of Burn for you was performed at the Elsie Fest with Abigail Barlow and Glee actor Darren Cris, but personally, I enjoyed Barlow’s version with just herself better. Her unique ability to make this song sound the way it does all by herself is truly amazing. Barlow makes both Simone and Daphne’s voices meld beautifully together while also allowing the characters to be differentiable.
One of the non duets, If I Were a Man, is written from the perspective of Eloise, the younger sister of Daphne. In the show, Eloise is portrayed as uninterested in men, and less conventionally feminine than the other women. The upbeat and playful tempo of this song is very typical for musical theater, which is very different from the rest of the album despite it being a ‘musical’. The uniqueness of this song perfectly mirrors Eloise’s own contrast from the other characters in Bridgerton:
“If I were a man maybe go to Japan or swim in the seine and learn to speak french.”
I appreciate how Barlow and Bear interpreted Eloise’s character and others. Though the interpretations may differ slightly from that of the TV show, they did a great job at going in-depth and really capturing who these characters were.
“I think the best case scenario is that it gets a stage adaptation,” Martinez says.
Already this musical is gaining popularity, including a Billboard in Times Square. Maybe not Broadway, but The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical is definitely going places!