Since mid-August, the concept of a musical based on the 2007 Pixar-animated-hit Ratatouille has captivated the attention of TikTok users across the platform. Given the great impact COVID-19 has had on the theater industry, various actors, singers, costumers, and set designers of all different ages have found an entertaining reprieve in framing a performance around the famed rat. Most recently, its creation has caught the attention of BroadwayWorld, Playbill, Pixar, and even The New York Times.
The idea began with 26-year-old New York schoolteacher, Em Jaccs, who was inspired by the latest Ratatouille themed ride set to open at Walt Disney World next summer. She began singing the introductory lyrics of a “love ballad,” as she captioned it in her viral post, dedicated to Remy’s journey as a cook: “Remy, the ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams.” At the time of this article, the post has over 750,000 views.
In mid-October, however, the song made its breakout debut. Arranger and composer Daniel Mertzlufft created a full chorus-version of Jaccs’ original song, depicting it as the “Big Act II Finale” with “lots of glitter” and “Remy on a lift flying over the audience.” Funnily enough, this is not Mertzlufft’s first Tik Tok endeavor. He also had a significant hand in the smaller “Grocery Store: A New Musical” based on a separate sound that had gone viral earlier in the summer. His inspiration stems from many Alan Menken’s works, specifically those in The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
As of this article, his rendition of Ratatouille has 1.7 million views – possibly the marked launch of a real Broadway show following Remy through musical number after musical number. Since this post in particular, various other creators have shared their “submissions” to the piece. Seventeen-year-old Blake Rouse offered a tango duet between Colette and Linguini, (a Ratatango, if you will), while former Disney actor Kevin Chamberlin gave a 60-second performance based on Chef Gusteau’s motto “Anyone Can Cook.” Several choreographers, make-up artists, and directors have each pitched in their ideas as to how the performance could come to life. Just last month, musical enthusiast Jess Siswick created a Playbill cover for the would-be show, which was soon featured in the headlines of Playbill’s own article concerning the growing dream.
In many ways, this musical provided an outlet for the idle hands and minds of many Broadway enthusiasts, and even some Broadway stars. The most popular submissions took great care and thought into how to present their characters and emotions in song, while still closely following the plot of the film. 21-year-old RJ Christian, for example, took it upon himself to embody “weird chords, spicy harmony and creepy-crawly kind of music.”
Utilizing BroadwayWorld’s newest feature, StageMag, a full interactive show program has been produced and shared with the public, then followed by a feature in The New York Times. While a live-action rendition may be far in the future, or may never materialize at all, the Ratatouille musical has brought a small morsel of joy amidst quarantine and crisis.
Check out the Stage Mag!