Is Ratatouille the TikTok Musical the Future of Broadway?

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Is TikTok the new Broadway?

Emily Sandberg, Senior Editor

It all started with an ironic ten-second video posted to TikTok by a woman named Emily Jacobsen. This video contained a broadway-style song she wrote that was inspired by the 2007 Pixar movie, Ratatouille. People then began adding their own contributions to this hypothetical musical, until it had enough content to be considered a legitimate musical. These videos included original songs based on the plot of the movie, choreographed routines to these songs, costumes, set designs, and even a beautiful playbill. Only a few weeks later, there was enough Ratatouille content posted onto TikTok that an entire soundtrack was compiled, and there was a solid framework for the entire musical. 

With enough recognition, the musical caught the attention of the Disney Company, and they granted permission to hold a one-time event for charity. This virtual performance was put together in about a month for people to donate and stream. Famous Broadway actors such as Kevin Chamberlain, Tituss Burgess, Wayne Brady, Adam Lambert, and Andrew Barth Feldman became a part of the action, played roles, and wrote music. The final production was available to stream from January 1st to January 4th and was taken down immediately after. This event raised just shy of $2 million for struggling actors who can’t perform during the pandemic.

This production is a significant turning point in the musical theater world because it is the first musical of its kind. Not only was Ratatouille created remotely, but it is the first musical to be entirely crowdsourced. Although it is incredibly innovative in this troubling time for Broadway musicals, it will be difficult for this to become a real on-stage musical once theaters are able to reopen. This is simply because Pixar and its higher-ups, Disney, aren’t involved in any of the production, along with the fact that the rights to each individual portion of the musical belong to a different person. Many who contributed were afraid that their content wouldn’t make it into the final production, or that they would infringe upon Disney’s copyright rules. Although this would be difficult to manage as a traditional in-person stage show, the official Ratatouille The TikTok Musical TikTok page is working to raise money and recognition to make the show happen on a real stage in the future.

The theme of Ratatouille– “anyone can cook”–is reminiscent of the inspiring creation of how the Ratatouille musical came to be. Hundreds of ordinary individuals came together to create something extraordinary which allowed their individual talents to shine. This musical is an incredible representation of the amazing things that anybody can create when they work together– even if it’s simply over TikTok!