A theatre company that produced a musical inspired by Bridgerton is being sued by Netflix.
The period drama has been a huge hit since it landed on our screens in Christmas 2020, becoming one of the streamer’s most watched shows.
Created by Shonda Rhimes, it follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market, hoping to follow in her parent’s footsteps and find a match sparked by true love.
Fans went wild for the romantic and saucy exploits of high society players, and the cast including Phoebe, 27, and Regé-Jean Page, skyrocketed from unknown actors to bonafide A-listers.
Taking inspiration from Bridgerton, songwriters Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear composed music which started as a ‘passion project that became an unexpected viral sensation.’
They recorded 15 songs in six weeks based on the smash hit series live on social media, with the full album going on to snag the Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album.
The stage show debuted at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington DC on Tuesday, prompting action from Netflix’s lawyers, according to entertainment magazine Deadline.
The streamer’s legal team filed documents to sue Barlow and Bear, saying they had staged a ‘massive, for-profit stage show’, selling out tickets that ranged up to ‘$149 (£122) each to VIP packages.’
Netflix claimed it made ‘repeated objections’ about the performance, but it went ahead regardless.
‘Defendants Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear and their companies (Barlow and Bear) have taken valuable intellectual property from the Netflix original series Bridgerton to build an international brand for themselves,’ the document said.
‘Bridgerton reflects the creative work and hard-earned success of hundreds of artists and Netflix employees. Netflix owns the exclusive right to create Bridgerton songs, musicals, or any other derivative works based on Bridgerton.
‘Barlow and Bear cannot take that right — made valuable by others’ hard work — for themselves, without permission. Yet that is exactly what they have done.’
Barlow and Bear have not yet responded to the lawsuit.
In the UK, tickets are still available to buy for The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical Album Live in Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall in September.
Ticket prices are advertised from £30 to £71.25, with additional VIP packages, the most expensive costing £1800.08, available.
In a statement obtained by the publication, a spokesperson for Netflix said: ‘Netflix supports fan-generated content, but Barlow & Bear have taken this many steps further, seeking to create multiple revenue streams for themselves without formal permission to utilize the Bridgerton IP.
‘We’ve tried hard to work with Barlow & Bear, and they have refused to cooperate. The creators, cast, writers and crew have poured their hearts and souls into Bridgerton, and we’re taking action to protect their rights.’
Season 3 of Bridgerton is currently filming, with a teaser trailer published last week.