If you grew up obsessed with Disney musicals like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, feast your eyes on Ratatouille: The Musical. No, it's not headed to the Broadway stage any time soon. Instead, the "Ratatousical" is the collective creation of clever, musical theater-loving minds on TikTok.
The musical joke began in August, when TikTok user Em Jaccs uploaded her ode to Remy, the chef rat from Ratatouille. "Remy, the Ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams," sang Em in a mousy voice. "I praise you, oh Ratatouille, may the world remember your name."
For the record, no, Remy is not actually the titular Ratatouille. Instead, "ratatouille" is a stewed vegetable dish, which Remy makes at the end of the film for a big food critic. It didn't matter to TikTokers whether the lyrics of this song made any sense, though. In October, Daniel Mertzlufft—the man behind TikTok's viral Grocery Store Musical—took Em's song and revamped it into a big musical number that sounds just like something out of Beauty and the Beast.
"I'm a writer, composer, arranger, orchestrator. And I remember in middle school, high school, those were the things that got me into orchestration and arrangement: listening to the world that Disney builds. I think the orchestrations are just as integral to building the world of Disney as the actual music itself is, because it brings you into that world and makes it bigger," Daniel explained to Vulture of how he crafted the musical sound. "I was very familiar with that, because I used to study it a lot. So, when I got to this, I knew what we needed: big tremolo strings. We need a French horn. We need lots of trumpet and brass. We need timpani. We need tubular bells. It's all of those very specific, Disney-esque type sounds."
Soon, dozens of Disney fans took Daniel's version of the song and ran with it. Some crafted choreography to the number. One designed a very professional-looking Playbill. Others joked about having to serve high school theater kids who just put on a performance the musical at the local diner after party. Fans even built upon the song by dueting the original video as different characters from this fictional play.
The TikTok musical even caught the attention of Patton Oswalt, who voiced Remy in the movie. On Twitter, he tagged Ratatouille director Brad Bird in a video of a TikToker performing one of the fan-written songs.
The Ratatouille musical comes at an interesting time for live theater. Broadway shuttered its doors in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and plans to stay closed to the public until at least May 2021. It only makes sense that fans would take to social media to create a socially distanced musical, even if it all started as a joke.
Whether Disney decides to take Ratatouille from TikTok to the Great White Way remains to be seen, but for now, there's plenty of Remy content to view right on your phone.