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TikTok Users Band Together To Write 'Ratatouille:' The Musical

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Remember "Ratatouille," the charming 2007 Pixar movie about a French rat who loves to cook? Well, if you have forgotten, the creators on TikTok have not. First, a song from the movie became popular on the social media app.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LE FESTIN")

CAMILLE: (Singing in French).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Then a user, em_jaccs, uploaded an original song she wrote praising the main character, Remy the rat.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

EM_JACCS: (Singing) Remy the ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams. I praise you, my ratatouille...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That caught the attention of another TikTok user, Daniel Mertzlufft. He works in musical theater and transformed that acapella melody into...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) Remy the ratatouille, the rat of all my dreams. I praise you...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And the captions to the song read like stage directions in a script - Act 2 finale and confetti everywhere, lights going crazy, Remy on a lift, flying over the audience. So how did Mertzlufft musicalify (ph) that tune?

DANIEL MERTZLUFFT: I put in tremolo strings, a bunch of brass - like, the French horn specifically. You always hear the French horn in those types of songs. There's a lot of percussion. So we have the big bells, the glockenspiel, the timpani.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: He was inspired by the Alan Menken musicals he grew up with. Menken wrote the music for "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty And The Beast" and "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame."

MERTZLUFFT: It's like a big reprise of one of the songs earlier, but done in a big choral fashion, a huge orchestra.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Other TikTok users started to contribute songs of their own, of course.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

FETTUCINE FETTUQUEEN: (Singing) Don't waste your whiskers on dreaming. Try to see life as I do.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's user Fettucine FettuQueen with a song for Remy's father, who disapproves of his distaste for trash. Users A-A-Acacia and Blakey Rouse created a tango between Linguini, the incompetent chef that Remy controls, and Colette, his no-nonsense co-worker.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

A-A-ACACIA: (Singing) If you want to make it in the kitchen...

BLAKEY ROUSE: Yes, ma'am.

A-A-ACACIA: (Singing) ...You can't just flail your arms around.

ROUSE: Right. Got it.

A-A-ACACIA: (Singing) So...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But it wasn't just musicians who got into the "Ratatouille" action. Other corners of the theater world got involved, like lighting and set designers and choreographers. One TikTok even showed the creation of a fake Playbill with a slick cover. It's a forkful of steaming French dish that is cleverly shaped like a rat.

REBECCA ALTER: Anything you can do - I've seen someone doing a video where she's being an usher at the theater. You know, she's using green screen as the song's going in the background to seat people at "Ratatouille: The Musical."

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Rebecca Alter, who wrote about the musical for Vulture. Musicals are nothing new on TikTok, but Alter, who herself is a Broadway fan, says there's something different about "Ratatousical."

ALTER: There's something that feels so close and tangible about this as, like, there is an alternate reality where this is being marketed on Broadway next to "Frozen: The Musical."

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mertzlufft thinks it's something about the story itself.

MERTZLUFFT: It's just such an underdog story. Like, there's no reason that Remy and Linguine should succeed, and they find each other and are the perfect pair.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And some famous actors have taken notice, including Kevin Chamberlin, who's been nominated for three Tonys.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KEVIN CHAMBERLIN: (Singing) Anyone can cook. Anyone can cook. All you have to do is look inside yourself.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wearing a chef's cap, he's performing as Gusteau, the celebrated French chef that Remy turns to for inspiration. Patton Oswalt, the actor who voiced Remy in the original movie, tweeted out a video of a TikTok tagging the film's director, Brad Bird. But will Disney take notice and turn the "Ratatousical" into its next blockbuster stage production? Well, Mertzlufft said if the company reached out for him to adapt it, he would definitely take the call.

MERTZLUFFT: I mean, I would love to. I think it would be so fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But he isn't holding out hope. Plus, he thinks the show might work better in another form.

MERTZLUFFT: That's really where I think it should live - is, like, a 40-minute park show versus a two-act Broadway show.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is, an elaborate production at the Disney parks. And what do you know? The official Disney Parks TikTok account posted a "Ratatouille" song of their own just the other day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Rapping) Remy the rat was always sort of different. While the pack was eating trash, Remy was whipping dishes. Trapping into... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.