With remarkably quick turnaround time, Ratatouille: The Musical is actually coming to life. On Wednesday, Playbill announced that the crowdfunded TikTok sensation will get a filmed concert presentation by Seaview Productions, airing on January 1. It will be available to stream on TodayTix, as a benefit for The Actors Fund.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more inspired journey from meme to earnest Broadway ambitions in this year or any other. It was born in August, with the chipmunk-pitched “Ode to Remy” from user Em Jaccs. Within months, that song had morphed into a big, act-closing Broadway musical number, and set off a domino chain of new songs, choreography, Playbill designs, and so much more. At this point, it’s a loose constellation of theater nerds who just love Remy the Ratatouille and all things Disney — but it’s harder to guess who will be involved in the New Year’s Day production.
With less than a month until its premiere, it's unclear who will actually be performing, or what form the musical will ultimately take. The mock-up Playbill credits a number of the most prominent TikTok accounts for songwriting, along with the expedient technical contributions like puppet design and choreography, but the announcement doesn't confirm any of their direct involvement. Daniel Mertzlufft, who reimangined "Ode to Remy" as a Broadway number, told the New York Times that he's involved in the performance.
So maybe it's a remote production, something performed to an empty theater, or even a more straightforward performance of the songs, since again — this is a wildly fast progression from TikTok bit to a real-life production. Like other viral TikTok sensations, the tech company has latched onto its success. Here’s what the company’s senior manager of content Lizzy Hale told Playbill:
“It has been magical to watch the TikTok community create and embrace the #RatatouilleMusical...From @e_jaccs’ original ‘Ode to Remy’ to @shoeboxmusicals’ set designs, seeing the endless creativity of the platform and the wider community rallying around it has inspired and driven a new forum for theater lovers to express themselves, participate, and enjoy the show.”
No matter what ultimately becomes of the amorphous, global effort to honor Remy the Ratatouille, ideally the stray folks who made it happen on their own will earn credit instead of the tech giant that housed its incubation. In any case, it’s a remarkable show of ingenuity from talented theater kids and adults, benefiting a branch of workers who desperately need pandemic relief.
Considering my last New Year’s Day was spent watching a far more grotesque singing animals musical in theaters, this has to be a better omen for the year to come, right?