In early August, TikTok user @e_jaccs shared a beautiful rendition of her humorous song, ‘Ode to Remy’, that she had made up jokingly for the Ratatouille ride in Disney World. Little did she know, however, that her song would cause a cultural reset on the most popular social media app. As the months went on, users would share her sound with funny videos, make dances even, allowing more and more people to be sucked into Remy’s musical world, so much so that other users created more songs to add to Remy’s repertoire, and thus ‘Ratatousical’ (Ratatouille the musical) was born.
TikTok trends come and go very quickly (remember the savage dance? Yeah, me neither…) but somehow it remained at the forefront of users for you pages (fyp), catching the attention of Disney Pixar, and even Broadway directors. By the 9th of December 2020, TodayTix had announced a version of the musical, directed by Six! The Musical’s Lucy Moss, was to be broadcast via video of a socially distanced Broadway cast performing our beloved songs.
Tickets cost between $5 to $100, with all proceeds being donated to The Actors Fund- an extremely important charity for actors, now that COVID-19 is still prolonging the closure of theatres. Since the 18th of March last year, The Actors Fund has provided over $18 million (in emergency financial assistance) to over 14,700 people who work in performing arts and entertainment; the Ratatouille Musical helped raise over $2 million in funds to help the beloved industry.
But we are in lockdown, how was it even filmed?
Each cast member recorded themselves in the comfort of their own home, ‘TikTok-Style,’ by recording themselves vertically and using TikTok filters as an ode to where it originated from. The editor then put them all together to mix their harmonies and dialogue perfectly.
A special mention must go to Dear Evan Hansen’s very own Andrew Barth Feldman who played Linguini. His performance absolutely brought the show to life with his excitement and ability to re-enact the exact same mannerisms as the cartoon character Pixar made, back in 2007. It was truly magical to be transported from my own bedroom to a Broadway stage with his voice. Also, Tony nominee Ashley Park’s Colette was truly a masterpiece. Complete credit goes to the TikTok user @blakeyrouse who wrote the Kitchen Tango. A tango is exactly the type of song for Colette as it encapsulated her character perfectly together with the romantic and sexual tension between Linguini and herself.
Ah how magical is it to think it was written by just one of us, instead of the same musical theatre elite, when it comes to composers and writers!
It is so important to keep theatre alive right now, and to keep it relevant, which is exactly what Ratatouille the Musical did. The welcoming nature of a TikTok musical allowed fans of both musical theatre and the app to come together, instead of shunning fans for not being ‘traditional musical theatre’ enthusiasts. It provided the accessibility we need in theatre, proving once again that the internet, when used wisely, is a classless society, where talent can be found- recognition can be given to anyone from anywhere, with the click of a share button. We can see the parallels to musicals such as Hamilton, where Lin Manuel Miranda used popular rap music to entice normal members of society alongside theatre fans, which ultimately led to its huge success worldwide. Theatre is for everyone- it should not be limited to the wealthy bourgeois.
Ratatousical gave me hope. And I do not think I have felt hopeful in a long time about the industry. I suppose in line with Gusteau’s phrase ‘Anyone Can Cook’, anyone can enjoy theatre, anyone can make theatre, and anyone can save theatre.
Here’s hoping a cast album will be released soon!
Have a look at the full Playbill online here!
Words By: Anna Duffell
Edited By: Tamikka Reid