What was a silly, snappy, specific expelling of pent up creative energy on TikTok, Ratatouille The Musical is now cooking up to be a delectable and dazzling show on the Great White Way.
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Despite being preceded by a less than appealing reputation, we have long had a fascination for rodents in animation. The world’s most famous mouse aside (that’s Mickey to you), there’s Basil Rathbone and Mister Flanigan in The Great Mouse Detective, Bernard and Bianca in The Rescuers, Fivel in An American Tail, Master Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Jerry in well, Tom and Jerry that have all entertained and even educated us in our childhood. Here, the usual unsightly and unsanitary are dialed down, and for most, cleaned up and made cute and charming. (The villains remain reviled.) This curious captivation for our little furry friends continues to this generation with the enduring popularity of the award-winning 2007 Disney and Pixar animated film, Ratatouille.
Cutting down the chase that is almost always usual to stories involving rats, mice, and the like, Ratatouille has long captured the hearts of kids and adults alike with this equally thrilling and touching film that heroes the wisdom that your dreams are valid, no matter who or what you are. Smart, sophisticated, and soulful, Ratatouille is an adventure through the sticky sewers, winding streets and busy kitchens of Paris, France that will make you want to eat more, feel more, and yes, do more than what you have been otherwise led to believe.
Somewhere on TikTok, perhaps taken by the dynamic duo of Remy and Linguini, someone was inspired to do more with the mounting hopelessness amid the pandemic. With most of life as we knew it coming to a screeching halt, including that of high-risk non-essential industries such as Broadway, there was a lot of restless artistic energy that was cooped up. An insane case of creative cabin fever compelled many theater kids and generally an out-of-work Broadway to come up with ways to expel the brimming excess of their talent online. There were the usual virtual readings, Zoom benefit concerts, and social media outbursts, but nothing was a smashing hit than TikTok where little did we know, a phenomenon was about to be born in the form of an homage to Remy.
“Remy, the Ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams/ I praise you, oh Ratatouille, may the world remember your name,” sang TikTok user, @e_jaccs (Emily Jacobson) on August 10. What was supposed to be a one-off bit, just as she has been hilariously posting in isolation, took on a life of it’s own until #RatatouilleTheMusical slowly became a TikTok trend, one that has been viewed a whopping 31.88 million times as of this writing, Soon, her snippet of a song got the rousing Broadway reprise treatment from @danieljmertzlufft, which continued to practically score itself with a moving you-can-do-it ballad by @rjthecomposer, a snazzy number for Remy’s well-meaning but close-minded father by @fettuccinefettuqueen, a tantalizing tango duet by @aaaacaia and @blakeyrousey for the no-nonsense Colette and the earnest Linguini for that precisely-choreographed single spotlight moment. It wasn’t just a string songs that lend itself to the infamous big Broadway belts, because the riotous revolution on TikTok sprang forth a lot of ideas that included a detailed maquette of a set by @shoeboxmusicals, costume design by @brandon.hardy.art that plays on the element of puppetry that Linguini and Remy have taken to, pan-tastic choreography by @tristanmichaelmcintyre, and even a playbill and lead image created by @siswij, the self-assigned marketing department for what was then the fictional Ratatouille The Musical.
While some trends just quietly exit to stage left in the virtual stage of social media, the bits and pieces that came together in Ratatouille The Musical caught the eye of the Broadway production company, Seaview Productions, which is responsible for Slave Play (the most Tony Award-nominated play in Broadway history) and the Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer, Sea Wall/A Life. “We’re kicking off 2021 with Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical!” it announced on Twitter. Details of the delectable dish once served only on social media are scant, but what we do know is that it will be set to the stage for a one night only concert, and then it will be available to stream for 72 hours after. Done in partnership with TikTok creators, as well as of beloved Broadway actors, this production will benefit The Actors Fund, a non-profit organization that supports creatives in the entertainment and performing industry.
A source of great relief for the artists and audience alike, Ratatouille The Musical is guaranteed to be fun and fantastic as its silly, snappy, and specific origins. This time, however, it is being charged with the big and bouncy high-octane energy that is so rightfully deserves. In the theater, as with any creative endeavor, it takes a village to make things happen, and TikTok did exactly that, cooking up a show that will make Chef Gusteau proud. “Anyone can cook,” he was known to say after all. And if Remy the rat can dish it out in the finer fare of France, and TikTok can create a show on social media, then anything is possible, really. All it takes is a dream, a sense of daring, and of course, a drive to get things going on, and eventually, save for a few detours, you’ll get to that moment of pure chef’s kiss.
Access to Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical will be available exclusively through TodayTix on January 1, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET. With tickets ranging from $5 to $50, depending on location, the show will be available for streaming 72 after. For more information and how you can help, visit their official website.