In 1985, there was “We Are The World,” a song sung by practically every major pop star whose proceeds fought famine in Africa. In 2020, there’s the TikTok Ratatouille Musical.
Theatrical production company Seaview (best known for producing Slave Play, the most Tony Award-nominated show in history) announced on December 10 that it would put up an online performance of the show — the songs, dances, and even sets of which were entirely made by different creatives on TikTok — on January 1. The three-day streaming event will raise money for the Actors Fund.
“The love for the performing arts shines through in the Ratatouille-inspired TikToks from theater lovers around the world,” the Actors Fund chief executive Joseph P. Benincasa said in a statement. If you haven't been up on the Ratatouille fever that has taken hold of the social media platform, this may sound fake, but I can assure you that this is very, very real.
Over the past few months, the 2007 Disney-Pixar movie about a rat who dreams of becoming a French chef has become somewhat of a meme on TikTok. On August 10, however, Emily Jacobsen (@e_jaccs), posted an original song called “Remy the Ratatouille” on TikTok, and on October 19, composer Daniel Mertzlufft, made a theatrical arrangement of the song that became the foundation for the resulting Ratatouille Musical frenzy. Since them, creators have paid homage to the animated movie through thousands of TikTok videos. Creators — many of them theater (and even Broadway) people who have been looking for a way to release all their pandemic-induced pent-up energy — created their own songs, dances, makeup looks, set designs, and programs for a hypothetical Ratatouille: The Musical.
Both Jacobsen and Mertzlufft seem to be involved with the production, and both tweeted their excitement when the news broke. Even Disney, notorious for having a vice-like grip on its intellectual property, gave the event its blessing, which almost never happens. "Although we do not have development plans for the title, we love when our fans engage with Disney stories. We applaud and thank all of the online theatre makers for helping to benefit The Actors Fund in this unprecedented time of need,” Disney wrote in a statement.
Is Ratatouille: The Musical the vaccine? No, but it's pretty close.