Executive producer Jeremy O. Harris tells EW about staging the benefit production, and shares an additional song performed by Kelsey Lu.

By Jessica Derschowitz
January 02, 2021 at 01:55 PM EST
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Credit: TikTok

You know you always should save room for dessert, right?

On Friday night, the theater community kicked off the New Year with a virtual benefit performance of Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, an adaptation of the beloved 2007 Pixar film cooked up over the last few months by creators on the platform.

The charming, pre-taped show has already raised more than $1 million for The Actors Fund and features a mix of Broadway talent (Tituss Burgess, Ashely Park, Andrew Barth Feldman, and André De Shields among them) and the TikTok creators who made the musical an online hit. It’s available to stream through Monday evening, but the producers saved one last treat for fans to enjoy, and EW is sharing that bonus track exclusively here.

Like the movie, the Ratatouille musical follows Remy (Burgess), a French rat with a refined palate and love of food, who teams up with hapless kitchen worker Alfredo Linguini (Feldman) to cook at a famed Parisian restaurant. The song below, “It Might Be Love,” is sung by Colette (played by Park in the musical and performed here by Kelsey Lu), a skilled chef who finds herself falling for Linguini.

"It Might Be Love" (Colette Demo), written by Andrew Wyatt, performed by Kelsey Lu, and produced by Wyatt and Lu.

Jeremy O. Harris, the Tony-nominated writer behind Slave Play and an executive producer of the Ratatouille musical, tells EW that he and fellow producers Greg Nobile, Michael Breslin, and Patrick Foley wanted this song to signal that the creative ambitions around the project don’t need to stop with this virtual production. “We wanted to let people know that this this is an ever-blossoming process,” he explains. “This is something that we hope will continue — that there will be a thousand more Ratatouille musicals, a thousand more songs from different angles and different impulses that can keep building this excitement to create.”

Harris, 31, asked musician and songwriter Andrew Wyatt to write a trunk song for Colette, a “feminist anthem” in which she processes the feelings she’s having for Linguini. “She’s one of the best chefs in all of Paris and this dweeb has somehow weaseled his way into her heart, and she wants to make sense of that,” he says. He then reached out to Lu to perform it, and the singer also enthusiastically came aboard. And keeping with the tight timeline the musical had to get to opening night, the song came together and was recorded in about a week.

“We were really excited to see what they made with this,” he adds of the track, “and to also present it as a final gift to the community to say, take this run with it. Keep making because it doesn't end with Broadway, Broadway is just another step in its journey.”

Harris, who himself has been active on TikTok throughout the pandemic, was excited by the musical’s evolution on the app as a way for artists to make themselves seen during a time when physical theatrical spaces are closed — especially those who aren’t frequently represented in traditional Broadway ventures. (And, it’s important to note, all the TikTok creators who contributed to the musical were compensated for it.) “Because as we know about commercial theater, it is historically averse to including people who aren't able bodied, people who aren't cis, people who aren't white. And that’s what was really exciting about seeing the way this was manifesting itself in a digital landscape on TikTok is that that everyone got to own it. Much like Ratatouille, right? [As Gusteau says in the film,] ‘Anyone can cook.’ Anyone can create inside of this landscape.”

And while he wants people to have fun watching Ratatouille, Harris also hopes the musical is seen as an ode to an industry facing insurmountable odds during the ongoing pandemic. “We're in a really dark and dire moment as a community,” he says. “Creation is not going to stop with [theaters being closed]. But the ability for as many creators as possible to keep creating, to keep imagining, does stop when they can't eat. That’s why things like donating to The Actors Fund, if you have those funds, is so important. And also why writing to your congressman about things like the Federal Theater Project, or the things that Be an Arts Hero is advocating for, like a cultural secretary, or other jobs bills that will specifically help theater laborers, are so important. Those are the things I'm hoping people take away from it. The beauty, the fun of creation, and the necessity of federal support for that creation.”

You can watch Ratatouille: The TikTok musical here through Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

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