Recently, TikTok had a role in contributing to the musical theatre industry: Ratatouille and Bridgeton. But what is TikTok and how did this happen?
So, what is TikTok?
Released by ByteDance in 2016, TikTok is the global version of the app Douyin from China. Formerly known as Musical.ly, this social media platform has garnered immense popularity at the start of the pandemic last year. To illustrate, on a monthly basis there are a total of 4.57 billion users as of 2021. Other than viewing and interacting with personalised content from creators of diverse backgrounds, users are able to make videos ranging from a few seconds to 3 minutes related to their interests such dancing, humour, education, etc.
How the Ratatouille musical started
Amidst the pandemic, Emily Jacobsen published an ode to Remy, Ratatouille’s main character, onto TikTok back in August 2020. To her surprise, her video received viral attention thanks to the positive interaction such as duets (a prominent feature on TikTok) and hashtags of numerous viewers. And by viral, I mean viral enough to gain 272.7 million views on #RatatouilleMusical. All the attention was enough to catch the eyes of people willing to contribute into the musical’s making, a few to name being the youngest female Broadway director Lucy Moss and Adam Lambert, who has been in stardom since his time in the 2009 show American Idol Season 8.
At the start of the new year, the finalised act was streamed for the public for 3 days, whom had to pay according to how much they can contribute in terms of their financial position. Within that short period of time, $1.9 million was raised for The Actors Fund; a charity organisation dedicated to aid those in the performing arts scene struggling financially. Although the show is over, the whole musical has been uploaded by anonymous users online so it can still be view today. Even though plans of a physical stage are a distant dream for this type of musical, it has piqued Broadway’s interest, along with another musical!
How the Bridgeton musical started
Around mid-January 2021, 22-year-old singer-songwriter Abigail Barlow uploaded “Daphne’s Song” onto TikTok, a snippet inspired by some lines from one of Netflix’s most popular show “Bridgerton”. People loved this idea, with the following details: 1.8 million views, 243.2k hearts, 18.3k shares and 3851 comments. This led to Abigail posting more versions of “If Bridgerton was a musical.
What’s happening now
Shortly after the success of this idea, Barlow teamed up with Emily Bear, a 19-year-old who you may know for her appearance on Ellen as a child. To this day, the pair are still crafting lyrics for music to be featured in Bridgerton the Musical and publish their progress online on YouTube and TikTok. As of present time, more than a dozen of songs have been written for the virtual masses to enjoy.
While physical performances are still on a different level compared to the above mentioned musicals, the creative process is what offers more room for potential in the musical field.
Written by Marlene Teo