by Alia Arafeh and Sonali Muthukrishnan
Editorial Editor and National/World Editor
On Fri. Jan. 1, Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical premiered online at 7 PM. The first-ever crowd-sourced musical featured appearances from Tituss Burgess as rat protagonist Remy, Andrew Barth Feldman as aspiring chef Linguini, Wayne Brady as Remy’s father Django, and other recognized actors and actresses who contributed to the show. While much of the musical felt rushed and strangely put together, it was heartwarming to see independent creators in the spotlight.
The musical raised over one million dollars for the Actors Fund, a charitable organization that provides “services includ[ing] emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care, and insurance counseling, senior care, secondary career development, and more,” according to its website.
Overall, the show fell flat, but there were some notable bright spots in the production. It was evident that the actors enjoyed the characters they were playing and put their all into the performance. In particular, Kevin Chamberlin took his role as celebrity chef Gusteau to heart, having written his song and genuinely embodying the energy of the chef. Most of the other songs were written by independent creators on the social media platform TikTok. The smiles on their faces while they posed for a short clip following the musical clearly illustrated their pride and excitement.
Feldman wowed the audience with his incredible vocals and acting, embracing his role to the fullest extent. Wayne Brady evoked emotion in viewers during his rendition of Gabbi Bolt’s “Trash is our Treasure,” in which Django critiques Remy’s love for cooking. All the actors embraced this opportunity to have fun, even in light of the logistical restrictions they faced creating it.
The musical was sweet, but ultimately felt rushed. Particularly the music in this show seemed sub-par. While there were a couple of exceptions, some of the musical numbers had songs with lyrics that did not fit their musical accompaniment. Many actors could not sing what their characters were required to, which made their songs challenging to sit through. Additionally, certain characters were tough to understand due to their accents.
The video editing for the musical also left something to be desired. In some of the clips, the audience could see TikTok watermarks. Transitions between actors and their videos felt messy and confusing, distracting the viewers from the show. The cast used TikTok filters that further disintegrated the production’s video quality to accompany some musical numbers.
Most importantly, the show left gaping holes in the plot, skipping many of the best moments in the movie. The production ultimately felt unfinished. The advertisement surrounding the show, casting an image of a complete Broadway-like musical, is misleading and did not serve the production well. Though it had its merits, Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical left a lot to be desired.
(Sources: Genius, Playbill, Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical)
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