As of right now, the only rats you’ll see on Broadway are the ones nibbling at a slice of pizza or hiding in trash cans -- but that could change.
What started as a cheesy TikTok devoted to Remy, the main character from Disney and Pixar’s 2007 animated film “Ratatouille,” has turned into a cult phenomenon. And we’re not complaining.
If you didn’t catch the movie, it’s based around Remy, who dreams of becoming a great chef, despite being a rat in a place that despises rodents: Paris.
The TikTok video, apparently induced by pandemic boredom, has accumulated more than 230,000 likes and has everyone singing about the tiny rat who just wanted to cook.
But it didn’t start out that way. The original video was created by Emily Jacobson, a teacher in New York, who said she was rewatching the movie when the idea came to her.
“The movie was in my head while I was cleaning up, and I just started singing this little song to myself about the main character, Remy,” Jacobson said. “I thought it was funny and particularly catchy, so I decided to make a TikTok about it with some crazy visual effects and an altered voice to send to family and friends.”
Fast forward two months, and that small joke has now been given a whole new life as users add their take on the mock-up musical.
The video caught the attention of Daniel Mertzlufft, a composer on TikTok, who turned the short clip into the musical sensation we hear today.
Mertzlufft added an orchestra, all electronically from home, and got a friend to help him create the choral sound. He even gave stage notes for what a “Ratatouille” musical could look like.
“I was flattered he chose my small joke song as the source material for something so beautiful and artistic,” Jacobson added. “And little did I know, I would be hearing my song a lot more in the coming weeks.”
Other TikTok creators quickly began to duet the video and add some spice to what was already a growing trend. Users started contributing their songs, costumes, vocals and dance moves to help create the unfinished musical.
One fan even created an official Playbill for the show.
“I definitely never thought I would be embracing people referring to me as the ‘rat queen,’” Jacobson said. “Now every other video that crosses my app is using my song or is a new song, dance, costume, set or idea for this ‘Ratatouille’ musical.”
As the trend grew, it eventually reached some big names who, of course, joined in on the fun.
The official Playbill account reposted the mock cover for the musical, the Disney Parks TikTok account submitted its “unofficial audition video” and Pixar’s official account gave the growing trend some love on Instagram, with a picture of Remy captioned, “The rat of all our dreams.”
While there’s no official word on a “Ratatouille” musical, Jacobson explained who she would want to step into the leading role.
“I would love to see a newcomer play Remy in a Broadway production,” Jacobson said. “It would be just another beautiful nod connecting to the theme that anyone is capable of doing anything.”
What was intended to be a small joke has turned into something words cannot describe. The video has allowed users to help create something that has no limitations, and welcomes anyone to lend a hand.
Luckily for us, the trend is showing no signs of slowing down.
“If anything can be taken from my experience, I think it is that people should let their creativity flow and get their ideas out there, because you never know what could happen,” Jacobson said.
In the words of food critic Anton Ego, “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”
What are your thoughts on a “Ratatouille” musical?