Some dreams seem nearly impossible: like becoming a chef in a major Parisian restaurant when you’re a rodent, or putting on a new Broadway musical during an ongoing pandemic when theaters around the world are dark, or finding a way to combine both. and get more. of a million dollars to benefit charity.
But that’s exactly what happened when the curtain rose on ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’ in the first weeks of 2021.
Following the adage that “good things come in small packages,” including rats with visions of glory, the show’s origins are rather humble.
In August 2020, 26-year-old school teacher Emily Jacobsen, a devoted Disney fan / theater addict and avowed ‘Ratatouille’ fan, learned about a Remy-based themed attraction and her team was scheduled to open at Walt Disney World in Florida in the next year.
Inspired, Jacobson came up with “a ballad of love” for her favorite tiny hero:
“Remy, the ratatouille
The rat of all my dreams
I praise you my ratatouille
May the world remember your name. “
Jacobson posted his songbook on TikTok and tagged a few friends, one of whom turned out to be music genius Daniel Mertzlufft, who added orchestration, instruments, and vocals to the tune via computer. Rather than an ending, the Disney-worthy ending Mertzlufft created was the spark that set the internet ablaze and released a thousand videos that would eventually become ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’.
Mertzlufft released his video in October. Soon after, other TikTokers enthusiasts began contributing their own contributions to the virtual show. What started out as a snowball became an avalanche.
Even Disney was caught up in the momentum. “We love it when our fans engage with our stories,” the studio said in a statement reported by. The New York Times“And we look forward to seeing these super fans experience the attraction when it opens at Walt Disney World next year.”
As the viral trajectory of the publicly sourced musical with 200,000 fans and counting continued its trend, something even more extraordinary happened.
With the wave of his magic wand, Disney gave Seaview Productions the green light to produce a full-blown musical as a benefit performance in aid of the Actors Fund.
While the organization’s mission has always been to provide performers with a financial safety net, with so many entertainment professionals marginalized by the COVID-19 crisis, the need is now more crucial than ever.
Mertzlufft, who was cast in the role of music director, says the breakneck production was accomplished in less than a month.
“I had my first meeting on December 4 with the people of Seaview,” he said. The New York Times. “They called me and said, ‘Hey, we have this crazy idea. Disney has given us the grant to make a profit for the ‘Ratatouille’ Actors Fund. The only trick? They wanted it to debut on New Years Day. “I took a deep breath and said, ‘Yes, it’s possible.’
With Tituss Burgess as Remy, and co-starring Wayne Brady, Adam Lambert, Kevin Chamberlin, Andrew Barth Feldman, Priscilla Lopez, Ashley Parks, André De Shields, Owen Tabaka and Mary Testa, since its premiere on January 1, ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical ‘has raised over $ 1 million for the Actors Fund.
– Ratatouille Musical (@ratatousical) January 2, 2021
The original 72-hour run of ‘Ratatousical’ was so successful that a second performance was added on January 10. While the show has been a financial boon for performers, its significance has a much broader scope.
“It is so important to support artists right now, I think, both in terms of raising real money (and in) bringing hope that new work can still be created and that there is room for innovation,” said the director. of the program, Lucy Mosgo, said CNN. “Maybe, you know, this kind of work wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t all stuck at home.”
If the moral of ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’ is anything, it’s that we can refuse to take no for an answer. We can choose to embrace the impossible. We can become the force that creates something new. We can choose to see our vision and give it everything we have because a dream that comes true against all odds is so much sweeter.
As Remy told Django in the original 2007 film, “Change is nature, Dad, the part we can influence, and it begins when we decide.”
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