Ratatouille: Anyone Can Create
The “little rat that could” has made it to the world of virtual theatre!
Yesterday, January 1st, Remy the rat made his musical debut in this virtual musical production of Ratatouille! This fundraiser for The Actor’s Fund was presented by Seaview, in association with TodayTix and TikTok.
Ratatouille follows the story of the 2007 Disney/Pixar animated film of the same name.
Remy is a rat with a love of food, passion for cooking, and a dream to become a cook like his hero, Chef Gusteau. Eventually, he makes it to Paris and fulfills his dream with the help of his family and his new friend Linguini, proving that “anyone can cook”.
This ratatousical began as a few TikTok videos which quickly became a viral sensation, with countless creators sharing their vision, songs, and dances for the musical version of the Disney/Pixar classic.
Fast forward to yesterday, when TikTok and Broadway creatives brought the full show into the world of virtual theatre with a starry cast..
The original story has been adapted for the virtual stage by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, featuring original songs written by various TikTok artists.
Six co-creator Lucy Moss took the helm to direct this project with a large creative team including Ellenore Scott (Choreographer), Daniel Mertzlufft (Music Supervisor), Macy Schmidt (Orchestrator), David Bengali (Video Designer), Chris Routh (Set Designer), Emily Marshall (Music Director), Jeffery Gugliott (Associate Choreographer), Tilly Grimes (Costume Consultant), Jessie Rosso and Geoffrey Ko (Music Copyists), Michael J. Moritz Jr. (Audio Producer), Angie Teo (Audio Mixer), Cody Renard Richard (Stage Manager), and Amy Jo Jackson (Dialect Coach), with casting by Taylor Williams.
The show’s score was performed by Broadway Sinfonietta, which is a twenty-piece orchestra featuring all female-identifying musicians, with a majority of women-of-colour.
The show is lead by Titus Burgess as Remy, with Andrew Barth Feldman (Linguini), Wayne Brady (Django), Adam Lambert (Emile), Ashley Park (Colette), Mary Testa (Skinner), Andre De Shields (Ego), and Kevin Chamberlin (Gusteau) rounding out this sensational cast.
It’s Remy’s story, and who better to tell it than the rat himself?
Remy leads us through the show from the very beginning, and I love this narrative choice as it perfectly suits the digital venue.
Letting Remy tell the story, even in places describing action happening off screen, provides simplicity across the board. There’s no scramble to fit anything else in, and by using this technique it means that nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
Also, Titus Burgess is an incredible narrator.
As I mentioned, this adaptation of the story we know and love was accompanied by brand new songs written by various artists.
The creators from the TikTok trend who had their work featured in the show include: Kevin Chamberlin, Danny Bernstein, Gabbi Bolt, RJ Christian, Nathan Fosbinder, Emily Jacobsen, Sophia James, Katie Johantgen, Daniel Mertzlufft, Alec Powell, and Blake Rouse, with additional lyrics by Kate Leonard.
This was such a treat for me, each tune is brilliantly written, from rousing dance numbers to ballads!
A few of my favourites include “Trash Is Our Treasure” and “Remember My Name”.
Though all of the performers involved are of the highest caliber, I was still amazed and impressed by what artists can create within the virtual space.
Each actor was able to transform their frame into something bigger than themselves.
This, along with the overall joy that came through their performances, made it something incredible special to watch.
A few of my highlights in watching this talented cast were the charisma and enthusiasm of Titus Burgess, the comedic timing of Mary Testa, the vulnerability of Wayne Brady, and of course, the presence that is Andre De Shields.
Simply put, the casting on this show is superb.
This virtual presentation was beautifully edited from start to finish and showed a cohesive vision between the director and those tasked with editing the final product.
It was cleverly and cleanly done, even creating a virtual chase scene, cloning dancers for a larger ensemble, and of course, showing how Remy “puppeted” Linguini.
Through all the impressive editing, one of my favourite things was the commitment to featuring the original creators. In both the beginning and the end of the show, TikTok videos from creators who participated not only in this project, but the trend itself, were shown in a tasteful nod to the show’s social media origins.
During the finale and credits, the creators who had their work featured appeared onscreen alongside the professionals who performed their work to share a bow, which was beautiful and brilliant.
Also showcased throughout the presentation were members of Broadway Sinfonietta, who provided the tracks for the production, which was highly refreshing as most productions leave their musicians out of sight.
The message of this performance is very similar to that of the original story that something great can come from anywhere, that we are all capable of greatness and
that ANYONE can create!
It also serves as a reminder that we live in a world full of talent, and that there are so many fabulous creatives we haven’t met yet.
Not only does this message of accessibility apply to those who create, but to audience members as well!
Tickets for Ratatouille ranged from $5-$100 as a ‘Contribute What You Can’ event, with every ticketholder experiencing the exact same show. Meaning: ANYONE can see this musical.
Jeremy O’Harris, the author of Slave Play and an executive producer on this show, tweeted the following yesterday evening when Ratatouille announced it had raised over a million dollars for The Actor’s Fund:
“For those who don’t know the math, that’s a week’s worth of Broadway sales for a successful musical with tickets at an avg of $100 raised from ONE performance digitally with tickets at pay what you can… This can be the accessible future.”
The takeaway from Ratatouille includes:
Anyone can create
Anyone should be able to see a musical
A brilliant show can come from anyone, anywhere
As of right now, less than twenty-four hours after its premiere, Ratatouille has raised over one million dollars for The Actor’s Fund!
There is still time to catch the show that is currently ‘breaking the internet’ and support a wonderful cause. You can purchase a ticket at the link below and watch through January 4th at 5pm EST.
I’d definitely recommend tuning in to this wonderful collaborative piece which will delight even the harshest of critics (much like Remy delights Anton Ego).