Music by Peter Hodgson
Book & Lyrics by Kathleen Wrinn
The Bridge is a musical retelling of the story behind the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, centered on the role played by Emily Roebling, wife of the Chief Engineer, Washington Roebling.
Construction of the bridge begins in 1869, in an America still healing from the devastation of the Civil War, and which is divided along racial, economic, and gender lines. Throughout Washington’s tenure as Chief Engineer, Emily is his primary source of support for him in difficult moments, as the East River Bridge faces immediate and increasing difficulties, starting with the death of Washington’s father, John (the designer of the bridge). Emily and Washington shepherd the Bridge through what seems like an endless series of insurmountable difficulties: discord among the Boardmembers about the direction of the Bridge project; a striking workforce; and the decision to place the New York foundation far shallower than the original designs called for, on a bed of sand, when the workers begin dying of a mysterious illness called “the bends.”
Eventually, Washington himself is stricken with the bends and unable to continue as Chief Engineer. It is up to Emily to step in, on the assumption that she will only carry out orders from her husband. But as Emily grows into the role and navigates a corrupt Board and a tense workforce that questions her authority, she discovers her newfound power and questions whether she can go back to being only Washington’s wife.
Exciting things are coming up for The Bridge--currently the team is mixing demos for several numbers from Act One, with still more demo sessions planned for the coming weeks and months. Festival and workshop submissions are in progress, and the engine is moving along. We're building the Bridge from the ground up: and the bones of this one are looking strong. For a sneak peak of some of the demo sessions in action, check out the gallery below.