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How Em Jaccs' RATATOUILLE Musical Became Theatre TikTok's Latest Trend

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Could a Ratatouille the Musical be coming to the stage?

TikTok has become the latest Internet obsession, with videos for anyone's interests. The theatre community is one such interest that has created a name for itself: "The Theatre Side of TikTok" or simply "Theatre TikTok."

Sometimes trends that come from popular Theatre TikToks, like the Aladdin or Newsies choreography challenges, go viral and soon enough everyone is taking part whether they're familiar with the original source or not.

Enter Em Jaccs, a 26 year-old from New York, who loves to post her own musical numbers with fun Disney twists. One of those numbers would eventually take off into a Ratatouille musical phenomenon, based on the 2007 Pixar film.

A self-proclaimed rat queen, Em first posted the lyrics a capella on August 10. At the time of this post, it has over 350,000 views.

Since then, with the help of a few other TikTok creators, the dream of a Ratatouille musical continued to grow, each idea more hilarious than the last

We got to chat with Em, the one who started this hilarious craze.

BroadwayWorld: Where did the idea come from?

Em: Music has always been a huge part of my life. Since I was a child, I have always walked around making up random songs about people, household items, and characters I like. These were always private of course and mostly just to annoy my family. However, during the quarantine I discovered TikTok. I've spent way too many hours over these past few months browsing through videos, enjoying the latest popular songs and trends. Late into the quarantine in August, I felt a particular longing for my favorite place on earth, Disney World. So I had been reading an article about the new Ratatouille ride in EPCOT. Using the article as inspiration, I just began singing this on-the-spot song around my house about Remy. I found it particularly catchy and couldn't get it out of my mind, so I decided to post a funny slideshow compilation of Remy with my song in the background.

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TikTok human machine recognition page.

I was really trying to make it as cheesy as possible with multiple crazy effects. I even accidentally added a picture of Remy's Dad which fans quickly pointed out. But we have to respect the man who gave Remy life anyway, so it works! I just wasn't too fond of how my voice sounded so I sped up the recording so my voice sounded a little more cartoon-like. And if you've heard the song, don't worry - I am aware that a rat cannot physically be the classic French stewed vegetable dish, ratatouille. I just liked the ring to it in the song! I like to think that in the lyric about Remy being ratatouille, the ratatouille is really more of a symbol for dreaming big and achieving greatness. Everyone should go out and try to be "ratatouille" in their own lives!

How does it feel to see your song blow up and become the latest trend on TikTok?

This whole experience has truly rocked my world. I never thought in a million years a short song I posted back in August would create such a buzz and inspire so many creators. As someone who has always dreamed to be a part of the Broadway world, this small taste has brought me such joy and excitement. Seeing the notifications pour in of new followers, fan comments, and tags in new songs and ideas has honestly been the highlight of 2020 for me. I give credit for the blow up to so many various creators. It all started with a creator, @_victoriap17_ , who used the song in a video that caught the attention of TikTok legend Brittany Broski (@brittany_broski). From that, the exposure grew and creator Rocky Paterra (@rockysroad) behind the amazing "I'm an Accountant" song tagged arranger, @danieljmertzlufft. It was Daniel that took my song and created a spellbinding musical theater version with instrumental and choir voices. And thus, the idea for a virtual Ratatouille musical via Tik Tok was born. So this trend has definitely been a group effort.

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TikTok human machine recognition page.

Which new song or take on the idea has been your favorite?

I am living for all the creative song ideas that have been popping up on my For You page. Of course it all started with @danieljmertzlufft's musical theater interpretation that actually made me shed a tear. One of the first original song ideas I saw came from RJIsSpiraling (@rjisspiraling)'s Sondheim-esque "Anyone Can Cook." It was so emotional and inspirational that I was hooked! Since that first one, I now see tons of videos per day with new creative Ratatouille musical songs of all different styles. Otherclaire (@cincinnatusstrikesagain)'s "A Rat is a Rat," a feature for Remy's father, Django, even inspired a song of my own! Andrew Heidorn (@andrewmheidorn)'s emotional plea to Remy was so beautiful and Alexandra Naranjo (@alexnaranjostuff)'s spicy song for Colette would be a showstopper. Whenever I hear the melody of my original song infused in a creator's composition, I truly feel so honored and excited. These and so many other amazing creators have even inspired me to draft new songs as well, such as "I am Remy," "Final Moments," and my newest song, "You're on Your Own."

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TikTok human machine recognition page.

Who would be in your dream cast if this were to one day make it to Broadway?

This experience has caused me to think often about Ratatouille making it to Broadway and I actually have pondered quite a bit about the casting. For the superstar role of Remy, I would hope the industry could bring in a newcomer. Someone brand new getting their breakout role in the musical would be in the true spirit of "ratatouille." As for our human sidekick Alfredo Linguini, I agree with many fans that Ben Platt could give the role the heart and soul it deserves. When I picture Colette, all I see is Carmen Cusack. I'm a huge Bright Star fanatic and Carmen Cusack fan. I think she could give Colette the spicy attitude the character emanates. James Monroe Iglehart would make a great powerhouse Gusteau overseeing his restaurant from beyond. Remy's mother would need to be a key player early in the story to highlight a tragedy in Remy's early life as I predict her having died since she is not mentioned or seen in the film. I see no one else for this role other than Phillipa Soo. I love literally everything she does and her voice could give the role of the mother the light, soaring quality I envision. I would also be honored if Remy's Dad, Django, could be portrayed by Brian Stokes Mitchell. Ever since I heard him singing in the Prince of Egypt musical film as a child, I hear a father-like quality in his voice. He could bring the anger to Django's character early on and the fatherly love as the story progresses. I would also love Martin Short to play Skinner. While Skinner is more of a villainous character, I think there is potential to bring in some comedic elements to his villainy and Martin Short would surely deliver.

Watch some more of our favorite Ratatouille the Musical TikToks and make sure to give Em a follow on the app HERE!

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TikTok human machine recognition page.

TikTok

TikTok human machine recognition page.

TikTok

TikTok human machine recognition page.

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TikTok human machine recognition page.

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TikTok human machine recognition page.

TikTok

TikTok human machine recognition page.

TikTok

TikTok human machine recognition page.


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