Theater nerds such as myself have had a rough time during the pandemic, missing out on the magic of performing in and watching live theater shows.
When it was announced that the TikTok sensation, "Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical," was going to be performed and streamed on New Year’s Day, I was excited to say the least.
"Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical" originated on the social media platform, TikTok, when actors and theater enthusiasts alike bonded over missing live theater during the pandemic. As the idea of a musical based on the Disney movie, "Ratatouille," grew and TikTok users created songs and choreography for the fictional show, the idea gained enough steam that Seaview Productions picked it up and turned it into a full-on virtual musical.
I didn’t know what to expect, but "Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical" was better than I could have imagined. The show began with a montage of TikToks related to the movie and I was worried for a second that the musical would just be a bunch of TikToks strung together.
Luckily, this was not the case. The musical was a series of video clips of individual actors placed together on screen to emulate when multiple characters were in a scene together.
Since the actors were not able to perform in the same physical space, the background behind their videos would change to fit the setting of the show and makeup and costumes seemed to be created from what the actors already had at home.
Tituss Burgess starred as Remy, the rat, who dreams of being a famous chef and he brought the character to life with energy, a touch of sarcasm and a singing range to beat. Remy narrates the entire musical from his point of view and the storyline follows the plot of the movie exactly, running through the major events of the story in just over an hour.
The opening number of the musical introduced all the characters and Remy tells the audience of his dream to become a chef. The cast was full of talented performers as well, including Andre De Shields as Anton Ego, Kevin Chamberlin as Chef Gusteau, Ashley Park as Colette and Adam Lambert as Emile.
One challenge of performing a virtual musical is making it appear as if the actors are interacting with each other, which looked goofy at times. During a scene when an old lady chases Remy and his brother, Emile, out of her house, the video boxes for the actors portraying the rats flew across the screen to convey the rats running away.
Not to mention the effects used throughout the show from slow-motion, to a blurred video effect for Gusteau’s ghost, to TikTok effects used on the videos of the ensemble members during dance breaks, this gave the show a slightly corny look at times.
However, for a crowdsourced TikTok musical that is the first of its kind and was assembled during a global pandemic, take the effects with a grain of salt and it’s a good opportunity for a laugh anyways.
Highlights of the show included a hopeful ballad sung by Remy when he discovers he was living underneath Paris and nearby Chef Gusteau’s famous restaurant and the dynamic between Remy and Linguine, the man who Remy controls like a puppet so he can cook at the restaurant.
Of course, the finale, featuring a longer montage of the original TikToks that sparked the creation of the show and the TikTok song “Remy the Ratatouille,” was memorable as well. I spent the next hour after the show singing the tune to myself.
The ensemble gets a well-deserved shout-out too, because they are the only ones who danced during the show (even if half of it featured TikTok dance moves). They also brought passionate energy and charm to the musical.
While "Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical" had some minor hiccups, mostly due to the challenges of not being able to have actors perform in the same place, it is definitely worth the watch for the upbeat songs, talented cast who bring the characters to life and the joy of seeing a musical created by actors, designers and theater fans coming together.