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BWW Exclusive: Meet the Makers of RATATOUILLE: The TikTok Musical- Sophia James

Sophia wrote Skinner's song "I Knew I Smelled a Rat."

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. Last 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 last 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 one of the creators, Sophia James, who wrote Skinner's song "I Knew I Smelled a Rat."

BWW Exclusive: Meet the Makers of RATATOUILLE: The TikTok Musical- Sophia James

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

Being a part of this massive project has been absolutely surreal; it's a dream to get to work alongside such talented creatives to put something together that brings a smile to so many faces. Hearing responses from all over the globe has been monumentally rewarding and has inspired a deeper motivation in me to continue creating, collaborating, and participating in the world of art and music.

Can you tell us more about your inspiration and the work that went into getting it to the finish line?

My contribution to the Ratatouille Musical ("I Knew I Smelled A Rat", aka Skinner's Number) was born out of procrastination; I was subconsciously inspired by many of the musical TikTok submissions that came before mine (RJ's "Ratatouille" sung by Anton Ego, Gabbi's "Trash Is Our Treasure" sung by Django, etc.) and the tune just flew out of me while failing to write an essay for school. The tune itself was inspired by many of Broadway's classic villain numbers, complete with a jazzy swing and lots of space for dance breaks. I made an instrumental demo, sung over it, posted it to Tik Tok, and the rest was history. It was the work and creativity of the Ratatouille music team, the outstanding performance of Mary Testa, and insane talent of the ensemble that made it come to life in the virtual performance!


I gave in. Here's "I Knew I Smelled a Rat". Somebody PLEASE sing this as Skinner. #ratatouillemusical #ratatouille #iknewismelledarat #fyp #rat

♬ original sound - Sophia James

What are your hopes for the future of Ratatouille?

Whatever happens in the future of the Ratatouille Musical, I'm incredibly proud of what we've already created (especially considering the circumstances and challenges of being caught in a pandemic). It's lovely to have a virtual performance that I can look back on and show my kids one day. It would be cool, however, if this project eventually made its way to the live Broadway stage once it's safe enough to do so...

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?

TikTok was the perfect platform to ignite the Ratatouille musical for primarily two reasons: one being that it showcases the creativity of individuals that may not necessarily get the time of day from theatrical authorities otherwise, and because of its format that cultivates collaboration. I think Ratatouille has definitely amplified the importance of social media in the creative world, and I do believe that producers and theatre makers should be paying attention to it; it might very well play an important role in the future of theater.

What else are you working on right now?

I'm currently working on my debut EP (set to be released in the upcoming months)! I'm also taking every songwriting and collaborative opportunity that I can get - whether it be in the realm of contemporary music, musical theater, or anything else. I'm also a student at UCLA, so in between my zoom classes, you can find me writing music and trying to keep up with my newfound obsession for creating TikTok content (thanks for the inspiration, Ratatouille).

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.

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