What the Bridgerton Musical on TikTok means for the future of Musical Theater Writers.

Once can be a fluke.

Twice?  Well, some might not call it a trend just yet.

But I would. 

See, I have this super complicated algorithm I use to determine when something has crossed over.

It’s when three people OUTSIDE our industry email me to talk about it.

Ok, not so complicated.  But it definitely works.

 It happened with Spider-man, Hamilton, and most recently, Ratatouille.

And now, the emails have come pouring in, from people I haven’t spoken to in years, about Bridgerton The Musical.

 Let me catch you up.

1. Bridgerton debuts on Netflix.

2. Fans of the series, Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, write a musical version of it and upload it to TikTok.

3. It blows up.  Attracts millions of views, and inspires choreography, costumes, and more.  (Oh and Netflix even gives it a thumbs up (when ten years ago they would have served it a cease and desist).

 4.  People start emailing me.

 So what does this mean?  And so quickly after Ratatouille (italicize) got an Actors Fund concert that raised $2mm, got this guy signed to CAA, and even got me to join TikTok.

It means that TikTok is the new place for musical theater writers to be discovered.  Period.

Pasek and Paul had YouTube, and it was crucial to their success, as they talked about here.

Jason Robert Brown had piano bars like eighty-eights, where I first saw Songs for a New World.

And now, everyone who dreams about writing for the theater . . . you have TikTok.

 

And, apparently, you have free rein to write whatever the @#$% you want.  Rights be damned (for now, anyway).

 

So many writers come to me saying, “I want to do a musical version of (INSERT TITLE OF SUPER VALUABLE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY HERE) if only the creators could hear what I wrote!”

 

Now, they just may get a chance.  And it just may cause them to give YOU a chance.

 See, what’s happening now for musical theater has been happening for YEARS in other types of writing.

 

It’s called Fan Fiction.  Fans have been writing alternate versions of famous stories from Harry Potter to Twilight and yeah, even Phantom of the Opera, Dear Evan Hansen, and more.

And this is where writers have been improving their chops, and even getting discovered (Remember 50 Shades of Grey?  Born out of FanFic).

And the Bridgerton writers have now arrived on the scene, thanks to the musical version of FanFic.

 

And it just may be how you arrive as well.

 

So if you’re a writer . . . this week, write a 60-second clip of a musical inspired by ANYTHING and upload it to TikTok.

You just never know what’s going to happen.  And if it doesn’t get discovered, well, the exercise of writing that song would be the same type of exercise you would get if you were in a Masters program for writing musical . . . without costing you $40,000 a year.

(I’m struggling for a name for the musical version of FanFic. You got one?)

– – – – –

Every week, I give emerging writers a tip of the week on how they can improve their odds of getting seen by Producers.  It’s free with this.

My review of Ratatouille Musical on Broadway (well e-Broadway, that is.)

Have you ever read a New York Times review of a musical and wonder, “Wait a second – I’m three paragraphs into this review and I still don’t even know if he liked it or not!”

Critics have a skill . . . it’s like a fisherman who doesn’t try to land the marlin on the first bite . . . they drag you in . . . all slllllloooooowwww liiiiiikkkkke. And get you to read all the way to the bottom.

SPOILER ALERT: This is not a New York Times review.

So let me get the rat out of the bag right now.

My review of Ratatouille musical?

I liked it.

You can stop reading now, if you like. And if you want a more in-depth analysis of it, you can read the actual New York Times review here.

But yeah, I liked it. I couldn’t help but get the e-chills hearing Daniel Mertzlufft’s orchestrated version of Emily Jacobsen’s “Ode To Remy” (aka The TikTok heard ’round the world) sung by Titus Burgess.

I loved Andrew Barth Feldman, Kevin Chamberlain (who got in on this early), and can Adam Lambert please come back to Broadway now?

And kudos to the writers, Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, for how fast they delivered something of this quality (with a score that was mostly pre-existing!) In a way, they wrote a jukebox musical . . . and they wrote it faaaaaast.

So yeah, I liked the show.

But I effin’ LOVED that it happened.

Seriously, Ratatouille should get the Nobel Peace Prize for musicals.

At a time when the theater is torn apart . . . because we can’t be together . . . leave it to the NEXT generation, Gen Z, to teach us to create something no matter what the circumstances.

Great leadership often comes from the young . . . because they aren’t trying to lead . . . they are just doing what they love and it’s impossible not to follow them. It’s why I jumped into the TikTok fray  . . . I wanted to be in their group.

While I give so much love and props to this group of creators, the next generation of theatermakers, I so respect Disney Theatricals under the leadership of Tom Schumacher, for letting it happen.

20 years ago? This would not have happened. No way. Too many lawyers. Too much corporate fear.

Today? You must learn to give the people what they want. And Disney did that . . . while simultaneously protecting its brand (the musical was only available for viewing twice) . . . and helping to raise $1mm for The Actors Fund.

So yes, I liked the performances, the choreography, the costumes even . . .

But I loved what Ratatouille represents . . . the future.

And I predict that review will be a rave.

X