The ‘Ratatouille’ musical shows the power of the Broadway community

(Graphic via TikTok)

If you haven’t been on TikTok lately, you might have missed the fervor surrounding a musical based upon the Pixar classic Ratatouille. The movie follows a French rat named Remy, who finds himself on a journey destined for culinary greatness. The viral conversion of the movie into a musical is the result of TikTok user @e_jaccs, whose ode to Remy goes like:

 “Remy the ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams. I praise you my ratatouille may the world remember your name.” 

@e_jaccsA love ballad #remy #rat #ratatoille #disney #wdw #disneyworld #ratlove #ratlife #rats #Alphets #StanleyCup #CanYouWorkIt♬ Ode to Remy – Emily Jacobsen

On Dec. 9, Playbill announced Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical would be coming to the stage — sort of. The digital musical event was slated to take place Jan. 1 to ring in the new year with everyone’s favorite rodent chef.

The event was cleverly framed as an event to raise money for The Actors Fund to support unemployed performing arts and entertainment workers. But the communication regarding how viewers could access the show left something to be desired — if it wasn’t such a viral phenomenon, people may not have been as willing to figure out the livestream themselves.

This collaborative project was born from a love for theater, Disney, and of course, Ratatouille. But the average TikTok user has little, or no, knowledge of actually producing a Broadway show — digital or not. Without the resources of a billion dollar company like Disney, there was a charming DIY aspect to the show, but at times it felt a bit lackluster.

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The biggest issue by far was the costuming. While I wasn’t expecting the actors to have professional-level costumes, it felt like many of them did the bare minimum — specifically, Adam Lambert, who played Emile, and Tituss Burgess, who played Remy. Burgess wore a gray turtleneck and Lambert styled a gray and black shirt, which was nothing drastically different from his day-to-day look. When on screen with Wayne Brady, who played the role of Django (Remy and Emile’s dad), they looked like they didn’t care. Brady took a street approach to his clothing, while adding some rat ears and makeup. 

Problems also lay within the ensemble; their role is to support the lead character, but all they did was distract. It wasn’t necessarily the fault of the actors themselves, but rather the show’s format. When you have so many Zoom boxes on the screen, your eyes don’t know where to focus. There were moments the ensemble was strong, but for the most part, their presence for the entirety of the show felt distracting.

Regardless of some poor costuming choices, the cast was a great group of actors. Burgess is talented enough where he can play just about any role phenomenally. As a fan of the original film, I liked Burgess’ more comedic interpretation of the typically neurotic Remy. But the two standouts to me were Ashley Park, who played the role of chef Colette, and Mary Testa, who played the role of chef Skinner. Both veterans of the Broadway stage, they were able to take the roles and stay true to the characters while making it their own. Both had my favorite songs of the entire show with Testa singing “I Knew I Smelled a Rat” and Park with “Kitchen Tango.” 

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While the Ratatouille musical didn’t feel like the show of a lifetime, it was an entertaining watch. As a big Broadway fan, I was happy to support a great cause and get a fun show out of it. Unfortunately, the musical was only available for four days, but if you are interested in learning about The Actors Fund, you can read more here.

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