‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’ entertained, disappointed

Cast of show shined, format of show flopped


Fair use from Todaytix.

Jacob Khabie

Logging on to watch “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical,” I was intrigued but also had serious doubts. While I had enjoyed watching small creators around the world come together on the social media platform TikTok to write a musical out of one of my favorite Pixar films, I had concerns that the show would become another product of the over-commercialization of Broadway. The result was a solid mix of both.

The seed of what would become “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” was planted by TikTok user Emily Jacobsen, who wrote and sang the now-infamous “Ode To Remy,” a short song praising the main character of the 2007 animated film “Ratatouille.” The song went viral and was then re-arranged by Daniel Mertzlufft in the fashion of a chorus-heavy finale number for a then-fictitious “Ratatouille” Broadway musical. Mertzlufft’s arrangement set off the creation of hundreds of videos on TikTok containing ideas for additional songs, choreography, costume design, set design and even playbill designs. The works of most of these creators were then put together to create “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical,” a virtual benefit that doubled as a concert showcasing the ideas of creators worldwide.

A definite highlight of the concert was its superstar cast, with big names such as Tituss Burgess and Wayne Brady taking the stage/screen as Remy and Django, respectively. Andrew Barth Feldman, of Dear Evan Hansen fame, played a perfectly shy and quirky Alfredo Linguini, opposite Ashley Park, who did a phenomenal job portraying the cunning, sharp Collette Tatou. However, the standouts of this already insanely talented cast were Kevin Chamberlin and Andre De Shields. Chamberlain, a Broadway veteran as well as Disney Channel alum, captured my heart as the lovable Chef Auguste Gusteau. Chamberlain also took to composing his own song for the show, which would later become the opening number “Anyone Can Cook.” De Shields brought his iconic flair to the feared food critic Anton Ego, stealing the show with his short yet intense appearance. Although he did not have much screen time, he stole the show, as he has done throughout much of his career.

The biggest letdown in “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” was how the directors and producers chose to frame the content given to them by TikTok creators. The creative team was given so much good material to work with, and the choices they made to “fill in the gaps” simply did not do it justice. Instead of opting to write more songs to fill in important plot points from the movie, many major events were half-heartedly acknowledged via narration monologues, which took up almost one half of the entire show. When there was dialogue, it was often clunky and was wedged full of Broadway and showtune references. While I did appreciate some of the Broadway easter eggs as a theater fan myself, they got old very quickly and took me out of the moment.

Although there were some definite low points, exceptions should be made for the quality of “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.” It’s never easy to put together a musical or concert, let alone a virtual one. Director Lucy Moss managed to bring together Broadway stars around the world, as well as give a platform and a voice to aspiring theatre creators to show their work. The concert was only insanely successful in its fundraising aspect, raising $1.8 million and counting for The Actors Fund, an entertainment fund that assists actors and behind-the-scenes workers with financial struggles. Because of its unprecedented nature and its charitable success, it’s fair to excuse some of the more nit-picky aspects of the show and appreciate the fact that theater fans around the world were given the show to begin with. Despite its flaws, it was clear that everyone in the cast and crew were having fun and overjoyed to be back doing what they love.

“Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” was still an enjoyable experience. It was relieving to see some of my favorite Broadway actors back on stage/screen, as well as having new theatre content to take in after a long, COVID-19 content drought. Despite many roadblocks, the creative team, cast and crew managed to put together an entertaining musical event that I hope to see develop further. With lots of tweaking and workshopping, “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” on stage has the potential to be a major hit.

Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical: ★★★☆☆