'Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical' has raised $1 million for actors affected by pandemic

What started as a TikTok challenge has become a fully fledged musical, even attracting some A-list talent

This combination of file photos shows from left to right, Tituss Burgess, Ashley Park and Adam Lambert. The entertainers are performing in TikTok’s crowdsourced “Ratatouille” musical. The one-night-only benefit concert will begin streaming on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 at 7 p.m. ET for 72 hours. Proceeds will benefit The Actors Fund, which aids entertainment industry workers.  (AP Photo)

With theatres closed and more and more people turning to social media as their source of entertainment, it was only a matter of time before the first TikTok musical was born.

What started out as a means to pass the time for TikTok users in October, has now given birth to a fully fledged virtual musical production of Disney's 2007 animated classic Ratatouille.

Through songs, dance, puppets, make-up looks and DIY set designs, a movement of 60-second offerings swept across the video sharing platform in the latter months of 2020, capturing the attention of not just the platform’s users, but theatre industry professionals.

Given the continued shut down of the industry by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many were quick to get involved themselves. First came the attention of Broadway star Andrew Barth Feldman, who started posting his own ballads as Linguini, the awkward chef who secretly employs the help of Remy the rat to help him cook.

But it is director Lucy Moss who has shaped the thousands of TikTok clips into a legitimate musical. "Despite being on a format on the cutting edge of tech and the most Gen-Z thing in the world, people were aspiring to be like a classic musical," Moss told The New York Times. "The challenge of doing that in the least theatrical space ever – online –— was trying to remain true to that aspiration. The aim is a Zoom reading or an online concert that drank 20 Red Bulls and spit on the screen."

Joining Feldman as Linguini is Adam Lambert, who will play Remy’s brother Emile, Tony-award winning actor Andre De Shields plays the hard-to-please food critic Anton Ego, Wayne Brady is Remy’s father Django, and the show’s star, Remy, is played by Tituss Burgess.

The finished show is only available to stream for a limited time, expiring on Monday, January 4. Viewers can pay to watch it on website todaytix.com, with a contribute-what-you-can price model. All proceeds from the production will go to The Actors Fund. In 48 hours, the production has raised more than $1 million.