While TikTok has become the expected platform for unexpected musicals, like Grocery Store: The Musical that went viral earlier this year, this is a brand-new recipe.
One of the ingredients? Daniel Mertzlufft (@danieljmertzlufft on TikTok), who was the mind behind TikTok’s Grocery Store: The Musical. The New York-based composer and arranger was tagged in a video by his friend, Rocky Paterra (@rockysroad, of “I’m An Accountant” TikTok fame). The video was Em Jaccs' (@e_jaccs) “Ode to Remy,” a love ballad for Ratatouille’s lead character that was posted in August. Paterra asked Mertzlufft, “Is this the next Grocery Store?” Yes, yes it was.
Scroll through to see a sampling of the TikTok musical ideas and look through the imagined Playbill!
Watch Jaccs' original "Ode to Remy"
Similar to Grocery Store: The Musical, Mertzlufft tapped into familiar musical theatre techniques and gave nods to several of Disney’s already-existing musical properties. “This is Alan Menken, through and through,” says Mertzlufft. “It’s all of his Disney act two finales with the big orchestra: the French horn, the strings, the bells. It’s [The Little Mermaid]’s ‘Part of Your World’ finale. It’s Beauty and the Beast. The last four bars are 100% a nod to Hunchback with the big bells and big chorus. There's some Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez with their Frozen finale.”
Watch Mertzlufft's musical theatre "Remy: The Musical"
In a pivot from Grocery Store: The Musical, it wasn’t only singers dueting with Mertzlufft’s video to add on more vocals, but songwriters began to expand Ratoutille’s song list with their own original creations. Songs began to develop for specific characters, including ones being written for Remy’s dad and a tango between Colette and Linguini.
Watch @fettuccinefettuqueen's "Trash Is Our Treasure"
Watch @blakeyrouse's Tango for Colette and Linguini
Watch @rjthecomposer's "Anyone Can Cook"
“There’s an actual plot to draw from [with Ratatouille], and everyone loves that movie,” says Mertzlufft. “There are so many songwriters on the platform, and we’re all longing to write. Writers are the only ones who can actively be working on something at the moment. But everyone is out of work, like stage crew, costume designers, directors. ”
Ratatouille has become an opportunity for artists across all disciplines to add their own flavor to the mix, from choreography to puppetry.
Watch @tristanmichaelmcintyre's choreography
Watch @ardellyfoshelly's costume design
Watch @morgainemade's makeup design
Watch @brandon.hardy.art's ideas for puppet design
Watch @brandon_Powers' share his approach for direction
With countless designs and artistic visions, a @ratatouillemusical account has been created to curate all of the ideas into a fully realized production. Even Broadway actors are getting involved, with Dear Evan Hansen alum Andrew Barth Feldman cast as Linguini and Tony nominee Kevin Chamberlin as Gusteau.
“I honestly can’t count how many friends have independently pitched me their idea for a Ratatouille musical for years,” says Feldman. “My good friend Nathan Fosbinder (@fozzyforman108) asked me if I’d sing a song he’d written for the musical, and it felt right. It felt like a prophecy being fulfilled.”
Watch Andrew Barth Feldman's performance
“People always tell me I look like Linguini, but then when I started recording, I think that I accidentally did the voice perfectly. It was the easiest time I’ve ever had stepping into a role,” says Feldman.
Watch Kevin Chamberlin's performance
It feels as though Ratatouille seems to be becoming a full-on Broadway production, with ideas also bubbling up for key art, merchandise, and yes, even a Playbill. Artist Jess Siswick offered her take on what Ratatouille key art would be. And, while the imagined Broadway marquee may not be real anytime soon, we’re proud to announce that we teamed up with Siswick for the official Ratatouille Playbill!
With thousands of enthusiastic submissions across TikTok, not all were able to be included. We encourage you to look through the contributions through the #RatatouilleMusical hashtag and Mertzlufft's original sound.
Flip through to see the imagined Playbill for Ratatouille:
This digital program was created using PLAYBILLder, Playbill's custom, Broadway-quality program creation tool. Get started building your real—or fantasy—Playbill program today at PLAYBILLder.com.
“We all are just craving any kind of theatre so much,” Feldman says. “It’s kind of magical that all of these people who will never meet are getting together and writing a musical. I also think people just really want a Ratatouille musical. I want a Ratatouille musical. It’s a good damn idea. Do you hear me, Disney Theatrical Productions? IT’S A GOOD IDEA.”