February 26, 2021

Bridgerton: The Musical? Fans of Netflix hit take tunes to TikTok

Adjoa Andoh, who plays Lady Danbury in the show, admires the creativity, zest and collective spirit of tribute songs

Bridgerton, the Regency-era TV smash that sparked a virtual water-cooler moment for period drama fans, is now firing the imaginations of musical theatre devotees on TikTok.

The Netflix drama, which confirmed a second series yesterday, is being reimagined on social media as a stage show and the hashtag #BridgertonTheMusical has had 2.5m views, with TikTokers creating songs and musical scores as well as devising costumes, writing production notes, staging auditions and hiring “intimacy coaches” for the bedroom scenes.

The idea was sparked by the singer Abigail Barlow and her writing partner Emily Bear, who originally uploaded a song from the point of view of Daphne Bridgerton. It went viral and she has now shared eight more, including an original track and instrumental from the perspective of Penelope Featherington, and another that speaks of Daphne’s frustrations on the night of her honeymoon with Simon Basset.

TikTok users have since united, asking: “What if Bridgerton was a musical?” and adding their own duets in which they sing along, accompanying Barlow.

Adjoa Andoh, who plays Lady Danbury in the show, welcomed the creativity, zest, and collective spirit. “When people love things, they want to dig in and find new ways to experience them as much as they can,” she said. “Right now, there’s an opportunity for people who are locked down to say: ‘How can I stimulate myself?’ and ‘How can I start having a conversation and connect?’”

Andoh said she could certainly see why the show had been transposed to musical form, given its big, choreographed set-pieces, glamorous costumes and high-octane plotlines. She was delighted by the show’s popularity and felt it was, in part, about timing. “We’ve all had a really ghastly year, with so much distancing from others. Christmas is a time when people traditionally convene, whatever their faith, it’s the ultimate symbol of gathering. Many of us couldn’t do that but Bridgerton became a shiny bauble we could gather around, and it’s completely unrelated to our present reality.”

The show, on which the historian David Olusoga was an adviser, is a corrective to the absences and omissions in British history and to the period drama tradition, she added. “My mother is a history teacher and I have spent my whole life being cross about the history we see in period dramas. With Bridgerton, we are just putting the history back in history, with bells on. It’s welcoming everybody, whether you’re gay, feminist, a person of colour. It recognises you were there.”