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Collected Item: “Ratatouille: the TikTok Musical”

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Ratatouille: the TikTok Musical

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digital art

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TikTok, an extremely popular social media app that allows users to upload short videos, never fails to showcase creativity. From dances to trends to recipes and more, it seems there is no limit to what its users can create. One of the most seemingly ridiculous examples of this is the “Ratatousical,” now formally known as “Ratatouille: the TikTok Musical.” User Emily Jacobsen began what became a viral movement by posting a short song she made up about the main character of the Disney/Pixar film Ratatouille, and it quickly picked up momentum. Soon more people began writing songs for the characters of the movie, choreographing dances, and designing sets for what became a very detailed crowd-sourced musical. Many joked that it needed to go to Broadway once Broadway reopened, and shared their dream cast for the show, posting song covers and orchestrations for the show.

Due to the massive popularity it gained on TikTok, many official Broadway-related and Disney pages and websites began referencing the original song, playing along with the idea of this musical. Much to everyone’s surprise, on December 9, 2020, it was announced that an official virtual production of the show would be presented by Seaview Productions on January 1, 2021, featuring the original songs shared on TikTok with full orchestrations and Broadway actors performing them. The concert benefited The Actors Fund, a charity supporting workers in the performing arts and entertainment, and starred Titus Burgess (of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fame) as Remy. Through the sale of virtual tickets and donations, over $2 million was raised for the Actors Fund because of this show, which was met with overwhelming positivity. All of the original creators of the songs featured were compensated and praised, and the collaborative effort brought joy and excitement to performing arts workers and fans alike.

What seemed like a silly trend on TikTok quickly brought together hundreds of thousands of people, allowing them to share in what brings them happiness even when still separated due to the pandemic. The money raised through this project will go on to support those who have been out of work from the closure of theatres and the entertainment industry, which has led countless numbers of individuals to be out of work since early in the pandemic. This effort to collaborate and create allowed individuals to return to the feeling of community and support often felt in the performing arts and provided a creative outlet for many. While nothing feels quite the same as seeing a musical live and in person, it is inspiring to know that the performing arts community is alive and well, even in the midst of a pandemic.

If you haven’t checked it out, I’d highly recommend it. Here’s to Remy, the rat of all our dreams.

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performing arts, ratatouille, ratatousical, tiktok, social media, HST 580, ASU

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Jess Siswick

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