How does a 2007 film become a meme, become a viral TikTok trend, become a musical?! Welp, I guess the only explanation is that our generation’s ability to destroy you with our memes has reached a new level, as Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical has made it to virtual Broadway.
According to TikTok, the first sight of a music reference to Ratatouille, the 2007 Disney Pixar film, was posted by @e_jaccs in August. In early October, @danieljmertzlufft musical-ified the song, and the TikTok theatre community went crazy for the hit going “Remy, the Ratatouille, the rat of all our dreams.” Songwriters started writing more songs, choreographers choreographed said songs, actors and dancers brought them to life, as scenic, costume, and lighting designers started drawing up their plans. Powered by the meme and hunger to create, this trend went viral, and as of today the #RatatouilleMusical has over 247.4 Million views.
It wasn’t long before industry professionals joined, which eventually led to a professional show, produced by Seaview (https://seaviewprods.com/welcome/), containing 10 songs created by TikTok creators (who have been credited and compensated by the show). The event raised a total of $1.9 million, which went directly to The Actors Fund.
The creative team was composed of Lucy Moss, Jeremy O. Harris, Tituss Burgess, and Ashley Park. The cast included Tituss Burgess, Wayne Brady, Adam Lambert, Andrew Barth Feldman, Ashley Park, André De Shields, Kevin Chamberlin, Mary Testa, Priscilla Lopez.
The pre-recorded musical premiered January 1st, at 7 pm ET, and was available for streaming through the 4th on TodayTix. Because of the show’s success, TikTok hosted a TikTok-Live “Encore” on Sunday, January 10th at 8 pm ET.
If you are like me, you are probably wondering what Disney and Pixar’s response to the Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical is and if there has been any quarrel on rights. Put simply: no. Disney and Pixar have responded positively to the musical and there has not been any rights disputes - presumably because the fanbase-created show was produced as a charity.
So, what’s next? Will there be another TikTok musical? Well, off the momentum of Ratatouille, I’ve seen TikTok users begin to create other fan-based musical content for other favorite animated films such as Disney’s 2009 motion picture, Up. Though, I don’t believe these projects hold “the power of the meme,” and are coming more from a place of ‘why isn’t this a musical yet?’ Hence, they probably will not go viral like our favorite rat did - but we might see further collaboration between artists. And who knows, maybe these passion projects will inspire companies like Disney to create more musical adaptations of their films!
But for now, “I praise you, oh Ratatouille” for bringing a little more theater into our lives, which we are so desperately longing for in the times of 2020/2021.
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