Some dreams seem almost impossible: like staging a brand-new Broadway musical during an ongoing pandemic when theaters throughout the world are dark, or a rodent becoming a chef in a top Parisian restaurant. Finding a way to combine both and raise more than one million dollars to benefit charity also seems difficult. However, this is what happened when the curtain rose on Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical in the first weeks of 2021.
Adhering to the adage that some good things come in small packages, including rodents with visions of glory, the origins of the show are pretty humble.
A School Teacher With a Noble Cause
Back in August of 2020, 26-year-old Emily Jacobson, who is a school teacher and also a devoted theater junkie/Disney fan and avowed “Ratatouille” aficionado, learned a themed attraction that’s based on Remy and his team was scheduled to open at Walt Disney World in Florida in 2021.
Inspired, she came up with a love ballad to her favorite diminutive hero:
“Remy, the ratatouille The rat of all my dreams I praise you, my ratatouille May the world remember your name.”
Ratatouille’s Success on TikTok
Emily Jacobson posted her video on TikTok and tagged some friends, one of whom happened to be music whiz Daniel Mertzlufft. He added the instruments, orchestration, and vocals to the tune via computer. Instead of an ending, the Disney-worthy finale Mertzlufft created was the spark that helped the video go viral and launched a thousand videos that would eventually become “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.”
Starring Tituss Burgess as Remy, and co-starring Wanye Brady, Kevin Chamberlin, Adam Lambert, Andrew Barth Feldman, Ashley Parks, Priscilla Lopez, Owen Tabaka, Andre De Shields, and Mary Testa, since its January 1 premiere, the musical has raised more than $1 million for the Actors Fund.
The original 72-hour run was so successful that a second performance was added on January 10. The show is a financial boon to the performers, but its importance has a much broader reach.
Sikhs Around The World Created A Food Donation Program For The Elderly
The world has experienced one of the biggest pandemics, and it’s still ongoing. The 14-day isolation restrictions have left many people unable to provide for themselves, with the elderly being hit the hardest by this new reality. Nonetheless, there are good people out there doing their best to help. The Sikh community, also known as the “Turbans of Australia,” spent over $4,000 Australian dollars on a food donation program to help.
Helping People In Need
People first in priority are the elderly, disabled and people who are at greater risk of serious complications from the virus. However, the Sikhs decided they would help anyone who calls for help. So far, 1.5 tons of food was donated to the Sydney residents who are unable to shop for basic necessities.
Home Cooked Meals
Another Sikh organization stepped in and delivered over 1,000 home-cooked meals for those in need, predominantly in the city’s southeastern neighborhoods. All the volunteers from both programs worked tirelessly for hours to provide enough food for anyone who called in.
The Big Apple Branch
The organization is also active in New York City. There are strict hygiene procedures for those handling the food. Everyone has to wear gloves and masks, keep a distance from each other, and sterilize the equipment and the surfaces. Similar to Australia, the packages are being delivered to people who are especially vulnerable to the virus. The volunteers are examined by physicians to ensure they are virus-free before heading out.
Working With The Government
Sikhism is a sector of faith that believes in a plant-based diet, therefore the meals consist of dried fruit, rice, and lentils.
In addition to the amazing work they’ve been doing, several Sikh organizations around the east and west coast are willing to work with government agencies to help distribute food and medicine to communities in need.
This is one of so many positive stories surfacing during this trying time, which goes to show that solidarity exists amid tough times.