Remy the Ratatouille: how a TikTok trend became a full musical

By: Bijou Kruszka

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It’s the year 2007, and the Pixar movie ‘Ratatouille’ just came out in theaters. Now, nearly 14 years later, the musical version of the movie, composed by TikTok creators, is performed by Broadway actors. How did we get here?

It all started with Emily Jacobson in August of 2020, who had just read an article on a new ‘Ratatouille’-themed ride at Disney World, according to an Inside Edition interview with Jacobson. She started singing an improvised song about the main character, Remy, and decided to post it to TikTok. The song’s lyrics were “Remy the ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams. I praise you, oh ratatouille. May the world remember your name.”

In a Buzzfeed interview, Jacobson said that she had “pretty much forgotten about it” until 2 months later, when she “woke up to hundreds of notifications.” The song had blown up and got the attention of composer Daniel Mertzluff. Mertzluff added ensemble-like vocals and instrumentation to Jacobson’s song, and pitched the idea of a ‘Ratatouille’ musical.

People all over TikTok quickly jumped on to this idea, composing songs, choreographing said songs, dreaming up costume and set designs, and even creating a Playbill cover. The 15-second song, consisting of 4 short lines, had somehow created an entire community on TikTok.

In the Buzzfeed interview, Jacobson stated that she was concerned that she was going to get copyrighted by Disney, but Disney seemed to encourage the trend. Patton Oswalt, who voiced Remy in the movie, showed his support as well.

In December of 2020, it was announced a virtual performance of this ‘Ratatouille’ musical would be live streamed, with the proceeds going to the Actors Fund, which benefits actors, especially during the pandemic. The production streamed from January 1st to January 4th, and it raised $2,000,000 for the Actors Fund.

The performance starred Titus Burgess as Remy, Wayne Brady as his father, Andrew Barth Feldman as Linguini, Ashley Park as Colette and Andre de Shields as Anton Ego. The show got good reception, with critics agreeing that though it was odd, it was very enjoyable.

In the end, we can see that somehow ‘Ratatouille’, in the middle of a pandemic, pulled thousands of people together to create something. Perhaps, Remy really is the rat of all our dreams.

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