Generation Z’s virtual musical

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The Playbill for Ratatouille the Musical.

Kelsi Seltenreich, Memorial Staff Writer

Aug. 8, 2020, Emily Jacobsen posted a TikTok of Disney’s beloved animated rat singing, “Remy, the Ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams. I praise you, my Ratatouille. May the world remember your name.”

The video received over one million views, and those 20 words sparked something magical.

The viral TikTok led to hundreds of others writing songs, choreographing dances, designing costumes, creating set ideas and so much more.

Soon there was an official Playbill designed for a fake TikTok musical and on Dec. 9 it was announced the fake musical was going to become a full pre-recorded show, pulling from TikTok creators’ ideas, on Jan. 1, 2021.

The musical tells the story of Remy the rat (Tituss Burgess) wanting to pursue his passion of becoming a chef, and although he has talent, both humans and rats think he doesn’t belong in the kitchen. When he meets Linguini (Andrew Barth Feldman), an aspiring cook, he has his chance to prove the world wrong. But, there are many complications he will have to face.

The music from the show was made up almost entirely from TikTok creators’ songs, with more music written to make it a full, cohesive show. The crew of the show put it together in less than a month, even though creation of a show usually takes many years. In addition to writing music, they had to come up with an entire script, cast the characters and ensemble and figure out the logistics of doing a fully online show. Members of the crew were on a Zoom call at 3:00 a.m. Christmas morning trying to have the performance ready by Jan. 1.

The musical featured a cast of well-known actors including Wayne Brady, Adam Lambert and Kevin Chamberlain. Each actor played their character exceptionally well and although they couldn’t be together in person for their scenes, the chemistry between the actors was still virtually present.

Since the show was done from the actors’ homes and they were all at different places, the editing process was vital to the show. The attention to detail, and purposefulness of when characters were on the screen was done meticulously and it paid off. Details and effects added were the cherry on top for the virtual show.

Something that made the show even more special was that the ticket price was to donate what you can and all proceeds were to benefit the Actors Fund. The show ended up raising over $2 million, which all went to helping struggling actors in need of food and shelter. That help is especially important right now as there are very few jobs for live theatre performers due to COVID-19.

Ratatouille the Musical is a celebration of community and a light for the world at such a hard time. It was the first community-created musical and likely will not be the last.

 

Contact Kelsi Seltenreich at ruffdraftemh[email protected]