“It was a crazy experience,” Patrick Foley chats about the flurry of activity it took to produce “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical” in just one month. Foley and Michael Breslin are both executive producers and writers of the musical special, which grew out of the phenomenon of hundreds of TikTok users writing original songs for a then-hypothetical musical adaptation of the 2007 Disney/Pixar film. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
As executive producers, Breslin and Foley assembled an all-star team behind the scenes, including Jeremy O. Harris as fellow executive producer, Lucy Moss as director, Ellenore Scott as choreographer, and David Bengali as video designer. “Once we had those core pieces together, then we were off to the races,” Foley shares. The entire team, he adds, shared a goal to “honor and lift up the TikTok material,” especially the original creators’ “exuberance and joy of invention.”
Breslin and Foley also wrote the libretto, adapting the almost two-hour film into a one-hour musical. “We started with watching the original film 3 times in a row, re-familiarizing ourselves with the amazing writing,” Breslin says. “We had to make really tough decisions about what plots could stay and what plots could go,” he continues, all in the service of telling the story “quickly and efficiently in that amount of time.”
Alongside casting director Taylor Williams, Breslin and Foley had a hand in assembling the ensemble, which featured Tituss Burgess as Remy, Andrew Barth Feldman as Linguini, Tony winner André De Shields as Anton Ego, and many other Broadway stars. Foley calls the process “mind-blowing,” especially since they were able to accomplish their goal that “every performer had to be iconic.” Breslin singles out Priscilla Lopez’s performance as a highlight as a “huge fan” of “A Chorus Line,” and Foley spotlights Wayne Brady’s “astonishing” turn and creativity.
Just last week, Breslin and Foley were named finalists for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Circle Jerk.” Breslin calls the citation “shocking” and “deeply meaningful.” Foley adds that they conceived of the piece as a “love letter to the theatre world.” He sees a connection between “Circle Jerk” and “Ratatouille,” saying, “Sometimes we’ve had to defend them as pieces of theatre, and so it’s incredibly gratifying to have such a storied institution agree.” “Ratatouille” has been viewed over 1.4 million times and raised over $2,000,000 for The Actors Fund.
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