Happy 2021!!! All of our problems might not disappear overnight, but I choose to look towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite this past administration’s neglect of the arts, we are on the horizon of a new day! And…there is no time like the present to shake up your music tastes and “Un-Block The Music.”
Rock and Roll Debbie Galante Block celebrated the end of 2020 with Miley Cyrus’ album Plastic Hearts. Damn! I’ve always loved her, but wow…rock and roll queen. Album is amazing…and she has great guest stars…including Joan Jett, my 80s alter ego.
Another end of the year treat for me was McCartney III. Anyone who knows me, can tell you the stories of my Paul worship, and how when I met him, I could not utter a sound. (I was 21 and not very experienced in this industry yet…LOL). “Un-Block The Music” is not the only one who appreciated this gift. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. (BTW…I got to work on Billboard’s McCartney special in 1996; a few years after that first meeting… Google it!)
We have to be grateful for the amazing creativity of artists through this nightmare time. That brings me to Ratatouille The Tik Tok Musical!
This week, I told my 89-year-old dad (whose brain is better than most 30-year olds) that I was reversing our roles and grounding him. NO TV! And, I am telling all of you the same thing I told him! Turn off CNN! Turn off FOX NEWS! Turn on Ratatouille! Even my Dad can get enjoyment out of watching Titus Burgess and Andrew Barth Feldman recreate Disney’s memorable characters. And, its not just Titus and Andrew. It’s Wayne Brady, Adam Lambert (come on, my rock and roll alter ego is dying again), Andre DeShields, Kevin Chamberlin, Priscilla Lopez, Ashley Park and Mary Testa.
Have you not heard about this?
One day last August, while cleaning her apartment, elementary school teacher Emily Jacobsen created a song for Tik Tok about Remy, the main character in Ratatouille. She posted her song on Tik Tok to make her friends laugh, but it went viral. And…her song turned into a community. With a lot of creativity, several songwriters and a lot of cooperation, a musical was created. Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley have adapted the project for the virtual stage and executive produced it with Jeremy O. Harris (Slave Play). And, get this….Lucy Moss of Six directs. (Broadway shutdown the opening night of Six. “Un-Block the Music” was scheduled to be there. Can’t wait to see it when theater returns. I interviewed Six’s sound designer, Paul Gatehouse back in March. I was holding the story as I waited for Broadway to return. I have decided to run it this month. Hopefully, the article will pump everyone up about the show’s return.)
Anyway, Ratatouille. The Tik Tok Musical debuted on January 1, and according to BuzzFeed News it raised more than $1 million in its first night. But, hurry its available for streaming only until Monday evening (January 4!) Price is what you can afford. They ask to give what you can for an incremental donation to the Actor’s Fund. Go to: https://www.todaytix.com/x/nyc/shows/22803-ratatouille-the-tiktok-musical
If you read “Un-Block The Music” regularly, (and you should!!) you will see some familiar names involved in the project. First off, there is The Tina Turner Musical’s Macy Schmidt who is not only the orchestrator, but also the founder of The Broadway Sinfonietta (the orchestra which is made up mostly of women of color). Sounds like a story for” Women Wonders” right? Then, there is Geoffrey Ko who is credited as a music copyist along with Jessie Rosso. I wrote about him when he musically directed Bounty Hunter. Emily Marshall is the musical director. While I haven’t met Emily yet, she was the musical director on Be More Chill, the Broadway show I was obsessed with when I first launched this blog!
Daniel Mertzlufft is the music supervisor. Until now, Daniel has been best known for his viral sensations such as The Thanksgiving Musical on The Late Late Show with James Corden featuring Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, Josh Gad, Josh Groban, and Kristin Chenoweth.
I had such a wonderful day going from music project to music project. I hope you will do the same!