‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’ Reinvents Theatre

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Clara Ferreira Lopes

Another contribution to the musical on TikTok was the creation of the “fake playbill” based off of key art by Jess Siswick. Creators collaborated, exchanged ideas, and produced the final product using the PLAYBILLder, a feature offered by Playbill.com that allows artists to create their own professional-quality playbills.

There are countless ways a theatrical production can come to fruition, but online musicals might be the new trend. In the last few months of 2020, TikTok creators, as well as professional actors and technicians, came together to create one such production: “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.” The musical succeeded in raising over $2 million on Jan 1. for the charitable organization The Actor’s Fund, which aims to help struggling actors through donations and fundraising, according to Playbill.

Some students watched the streamed performance hosted by theater ticketing platform TodayTix in collaboration with The Actor’s Fund. Actors filmed clips of themselves performing the numbers from their homes, and those clips were edited over the orchestra to create the effect of a full production. 

The cast included names like Tituss Burgess, Kevin Chamberlin and even Adam Lambert. 

“It is like the first musical that a lot of people get to enjoy since we had to go into lockdown … It’s the first time that the community was able to get back together, and being able to be a part of that would be such a big deal for anybody, so I think that’s why a lot of [the stars] wanted to jump into the performances,” sophomore Nicholas Nieto said.

Not only have students been keeping up with the musical through social media, but drama teacher Samantha Sanford also implemented the musical into her curriculum as a way of inspiring her students to reimagine theatre in an online format.

It’s just a bizarre phenomenon of TikTok and social media and another testament to how artists refuse to let go, or give up or succumb when there are obstacles present.”

— Samantha Sanford

“In addition to how it correlated to our curriculum and what we were doing in class, it’s just a bizarre phenomenon of TikTok and social media and another testament to how artists refuse to let go, or give up or succumb when there are obstacles present,” Sanford said. “They will persevere and push through and find a way, even if there can’t be a stage with costumes and lighting.” 

“Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” opened opportunities for similar productions to take place. Another TikTok musical rising to fame is based on the new Netflix original historical drama “Bridgerton.” 

Even though online musicals are just starting, an online following has been key to the rising popularity of many other shows, including beloved musicals like “Hamilton,” “Be More Chill” and “Dear Evan Hansen.”

“Look at ‘Be More Chill’ for example,” junior Ainsley Jonhston said. “Even though this isn’t a direct correlation to Ratatouille I feel like it kind of works because they started in New Jersey and shut down after a few months because no one was watching it, and then people found it online and got really into it. They made it to Off-Broadway and then to Broadway just because of their online following. So yeah, I feel like there is a really big possibility that very good musicals will come out of social media.”