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RATATOUILLE: THE TIKTOK MUSICAL
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BWW Exclusive: Meet the Makers of RATATOUILLE: The TikTok Musical- Emily Jacobsen​​​​​​​

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Emily came up with the original concept for the viral TikTok musical.

When Broadway is dark, all that it takes is one little rat and a team of up-and-coming theatre makers to save the day. Over the weekend, the Actors Fund revealed that, on its premiere night, Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical generated more than $1 million in ticket sales, to benefit The Actors Fund.

Presented by the Tony Award-winning theatrical production company Seaview, in association with TodayTix Presents and TikTok, Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical streamed for 72 hours only over the weekend, featuring content created by members of TikTok's #RatatouilleMusical Community, whose collective work has earned the engagement of more than 200 million fans around the globe.

Check out what the critics had to say about the incredible musical event and catch up on what Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical is all about!

Below, BroadwayWorld is catching up with the creator who started it all, Emily Jacobsen!

BWW Exclusive: Meet the Makers of RATATOUILLE: The TikTok Musical- Emily Jacobsen​​​​​​​


The response to this project has been insane from the beginning- what has it been like taking it all in on your end?

It has all been so unbelievably exciting, like nothing I could have ever imagined. As a huge Disney fanatic and a musical theater lover, this whole situation has just blended the two worlds for me so perfectly. The whole experience has gone better than I could have ever dreamed. While I did not post my original song with the goal to create a musical, I'm so glad it contributed to one. When I finally got to see the final product, I was in tears from start to finish and have watched the show a dozen times since.

This show is really an amazing product of collaboration from people all over the world, amateur and professional. I can't even begin to explain what a huge honor it is to hear my melody incorporated throughout the entire show in so many different ways. It was most especially exciting to see the work of so many TikTok creators, who have since become my good friends, shine and get recognition for their amazing contributions. I am so filled with gratitude to everyone who has supported the effort and helped to raise over one million dollars for The Actor's Fund. Seaview Productions took a chance on making this a reality and it really paid off.

Can you tell us more about your inspiration?

I downloaded TikTok in the Spring of 2020, just looking for a laugh and some light entertainment. It was never my intention to make videos, let alone write or perform songs. But as spring turned to summer and I continued to be stuck at home and bored, I started to dabble a little bit in posting videos.

One thing I've done throughout my life is make up little annoying songs to torment my family with, usually about household objects or Disney-themed topics. And after reading an article about the upcoming Ratatouille attraction to Disney world, I found myself just naturally singing a song about the main character of the Ratatouille movie, Remy, while I was cleaning up my apartment. A day went by and I couldn't get the song out of my head. I decided to make a TikTok about it, adding some crazy visual effects and making my voice more cartoon-like. I sent the video off to some family and friends in hopes of getting a laugh. But little did I know that months later it would get a musical theater arrangement from Daniel Mertzlufft and eventually be sung by a choir of seasoned Broadway professionals.

What are your hopes for the future of Ratatouille?

I am not sure what the future holds for the Ratatouille musical. My hope is that all the great work created for the show won't disappear forever now that the initial showing time has come to an end. I would love for a cast recording of the songs to be created and even a recording of the show itself, both to be sold with proceeds going towards The Actor's Fund. In the days that it was available, I found myself just letting the show play over and over again in the background of my day so that I could sing along and enjoy. I'd love to do that in my car as well! But in any case, I look forward to sticking with the Ratatouille craze wherever it ends up. This has all meant so much to me and I'm just thrilled I was able to play a small part in it all.

What do you think about the future of TikTok as a starting point for other musicals? Do you think this is wake-up call for producers and other theatre makers to take content on this medium and other social media seriously?

The whole origin story of the Ratatouille Musical being a TikTok trend that grew to be much more is a great example of the power that a social media app like TikTok holds. TikTok is very unique in its features such as the green screen and duet function. For music and theater in particular, these features can really elevate a performance. Utilizing a green screen allows a more immersive viewing experience, letting viewers better picture a setting or scene, and the duet function allows for collaboration between creators from all over the world.

For a long time, the whole Ratatouille musical trend lived only in this ever-growing duet chain, with people adding on new characters and harmonies to Daniel's musical theater arrangement of my song. From there came the original compositions and other contributions that span the disciplines. I think TikTok could potentially be a starting point for other musicals, given the success Ratatouille has achieved.

However I do believe much of this success was due to the climate of the pandemic. With theaters closed around the world, people have been craving even a taste of Broadway. This idea of a Ratatouille musical effort offered anyone from anywhere the chance to contribute to this larger project - almost as if the theater community on TikTok got together and decided to just make a musical ourselves. When live theater returns, I hope that there will still be a place for virtual theater. It really makes the industry more accessible, not only for people to watch it from their homes and not have to pay for a super expensive Broadway ticket, but also for actors and actresses from different places around the world to get their big break.

Are you working on anything else right now?

While I am so excited and grateful that all of this happened, I have no plans to quit my day job. I am a teacher and I really enjoy what I do, plus I have a mountain of student loans to still pay back. But I look forward to riding this Ratatouille musical wave wherever it ends up. In the meantime, I'll continue to write my crazy little songs and odes to Disney characters and see what happens!


Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical starred Wayne Brady (Django), Tituss Burgess (Remy), Kevin Chamberlin (Gusteau), Tony Award winner André De Shields (Ego), Andrew Barth Feldman (Linguini), Grammy Award nominee Adam Lambert (Emile), Tony winner Priscilla Lopez (Mabel), Tony nominee Ashley Park (Colette), Owen Tabaka (Young Ego), and three-time Tony nominee Mary Testa (Skinner), with Cori Jaskier, Talia Suskauer, Nikisha Williams, JJ Niemann, John Michael Lyles, Raymond J. Lee, and Joy Woods as the ensemble.

For more information, please visit Ratatousical.com.


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