A Ratatarticle about TikTok’s Ratatousical
There are few things that are better than the TikTok theatre community coming together to turn Ratatouille into a musical.
Ratatouille, the 2007 animated film, follows the story of Remy, a very personable rat, who finds his way into a declining French restaurant and dazzles critics with his cooking prowess. Naturally, he can’t be seen as the chef; therefore, he enlists the help of Alfredo Linguini, a gangly dish boy desperate to keep his job at the restaurant. Remy (consensually) controls Linguini’s movements by tugging on specific strains of his hair and cooks up a storm. It’s safe to say that it’s a masterpiece.
Even before talks of a musical, Ratatouille was considered by many as one of the most meme-able movies, and was popular on TikTok and other social media sites for that reason. Its vibrant characters and dramatic plot, however, make it a lively story to adapt for the theatre.
The idea for the Ratatouille TikTok Musical didn’t just happen overnight. Em Jaccs, a TikTok content creator known for her musical numbers, posted a video on Aug. 10 of an original song based on the movie.
Quickly, the video gained traction and reached other people who thought that this musical was rat up their alley. For example, Daniel J. Mertzlufft, a composer and arranger on TikTok, saw Jaccs’ acapella song and added orchestration and an ensemble, giving it the full musical theatre effect.
More and more of theatre TikTok creators became enthralled with the nostalgic thought of a Ratatouille musical, affectionately known by some as the Ratatousical. They’ve been using Mertzlufft’s audio to come up with choreography, which others have been dueting with their own vocals. Some have begun writing their own original songs and even designing sets and playbills for this show.
While extremely entertaining, these videos were simply blessing For You pages worldwide without any clear direction.
That is until someone called Josh Abram rectified this problem by creating a TikTok account called @RatatouilleMusical.
At the time that this was written, the account had already garnered 75.6 thousand followers and 186.6 thousand likes. On Oct. 26, Abram’s first video was posted, calling actors, singers, tech designers, musicals, composers, songwriters, choreographers and dancers to come together to make this dream a reality.
“I don’t know how we’re going to do this, but we’re going to do it,” Abram says, urging people to email him with original art, dance, song and design.
The next day, an update video was posted, thanking creators for their overwhelming support. Abram explained that the first round of auditions will be held on TikTok, but further details would be announced shortly.
A week later, on Nov. 3, an FAQ video was uploaded to @RatatouilleMusical. It starts with a screen recording of the many emails the team has received and explains that they’re doing their best to respond as quickly as possible.
Abram says that in order to become involved, creators should show their work by tagging the account in their videos and emailing in their portfolios. It’s also specified that this is purely a “passion project” and that the Ratatouille TikTok musical has no affiliation with Pixar or Disney. As for how it’s going to work, they’ve decided that their first goal is to create a concept album and then expand the project to create a full virtual production.
I think considering everything that’s going on, it’s a really fun thing to be focusing on,” says Aleah, a first-year student in Concordia’s Acting for Theatre program who prefers not to disclose her last name.
Vassiliki Gicopoulos, a third-year Dawson Theatre student, says that she “laughed” upon hearing about the musical, but echoes Aleah’s sentiments that “it’s just a really cool way to unite people throughout the pandemic, because there’s not a lot of art going on.”
Lisa Rubin, the artistic and executive director at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, finds this project “impressive and entertaining.” She commends the TikTok creators for “the speed at which they seem to be able to turn out such unique content in such short little bursts, and also their talent, their vocal ability, and their writing ability.”
Using TikTok as a platform for the Ratatousical also renders the show more accessible. Aleah recalls that in order to watch the Mean Girls musical, she had to watch a “bootleg” version recorded on YouTube. She says that “something like this is great” because it allows everyone to enjoy it.
Even more than that, people are coming together from all corners of the world to create and watch the musical together. In this way, TikTok’s Ratatouille musical “shows that the theatre community is a community,” according to Rubin.
Collective creation within the arts is not a new phenomenon, however. Melanie Thompson, communications manager at the Segal Centre, remembers a time when Weezer crowd sourced one of their CDs on YouTube. Nonetheless, she explains that the “resources that TikTok gives you and the medium of it allows you to do so much more.”
Therefore, Ratatouille’s “anyone can cook!” philosophy is echoed in the birth of the musical on TikTok — anyone can, and should, partake!
Anyone interested in contributing can email Josh Abram at email@example.com.
Visuals by @the.beta.lab