If anyone ever believed that the theater is really dead, Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical has resoundingly proven otherwise, giving it new life through Gen-Z social media and post-modern tech. The virtual phenomenon, inspired by the 2007 Disney Pixar computer-animated film, went viral after elementary school teacher Emily Jacobsen recorded a song dedicated to the beloved culinary rat in August 2020. Her original a cappella TikTok video was seen by New York-based composer, arranger, and fellow TikTok user Daniel Mertzlufft, who created a Broadway-style orchestrated version in October that received more than a million views and ignited the #RatatouilleMusical community in November. Members created thousands more 60-second TikTok videos on the theme, which soon caught the attention and support of Broadway.
Within five months of its inception, on New Year’s Day 2021, Seaview Productions presented a collaborative crowdsourced livestream narrative concert, featuring a roster of Broadway stars remotely performing the amalgamated, adapted, and expanded TikTok content (with a libretto by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley), to benefit The Actors Fund. To date, the event has raised over $1 million through the sale of tickets priced at $5, and voluntary contributions at higher increments. The sweet concoction will be available to stream for three additional days, through Monday, January 4, and its unprecedented success has generated a movement for the digital ‘Ratatousical‘ to be transformed into a Disney Broadway musical, once theaters can reopen after the pandemic shutdown, in a present-day reimagining of the old proverb, when life gives you lemons, make ratatouille.
Among those appearing in the show are the original TikTok video creators, including Jacobsen and Mettzlufft, along with Broadway’s Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid), Andrew Barth Feldman (Dear Evan Hansen), Wayne Brady (Kinky Boots), Ashley Park (Mean Girls), André De Shields (Hadestown), Kevin Chamberlin (The Addams Family), Priscilla Lopez (A Chorus Line), and Mary Testa (Oklahoma!), singer-songwriter Adam Lambert, and more, directed by Six co-creator and co-director Lucy Moss. The cast is backed by the 20-piece Broadway Sinfonietta orchestra (with music direction by Emily Marshall) and their vocal performances are enhanced by Ellenore Scott’s choreography and costume consulting by Tilly Grimes.
If you missed the world premiere on January 1, you can still stream Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical through 7 pm, Monday, January 4. For tickets, which can be purchased through 5 pm, January 4, go online.