TikTok & TYA: What the TYA Field Can Learn from Ratatouille: The Musical and Social Media-Driven Theatre-making
What Can the TYA Field Learn from Ratatouille: The Musical and Social Media-Driven Theatre-making? This past year in the absences of live theatre, artists and fans have used social media platform TikTok to create crowd-sourced musicals, including the massively popular sensation Ratatouille: The Musical based on the Pixar film of the same name. Why should the TYA field pay attention to this growing trend, and how might it impact our work for young audiences? Join TYA/USA for a conversation with musical theatre artist and TikTok phenomenon Dan Mertzlufft, social media strategist and theatre producer Sammy Lopez, moderated by TYA/USA Board President Nina Meehan.
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Time: 2:00 PM ET
Cost: Sliding Scale
Daniel Mertzlufft is a classically trained composer, arranger, music director, songwriter and TikTok influencer based in New York City. He is most known for his viral sensations The Thanksgiving Musical on The Late Late Show with James Corden featuring Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, Josh Gad, Josh Groban, and Kristin Chenoweth, as well as his arrangement of “Remy The Ratatouille” by Emily Jacobson that launched the TikTok Ratatouille musical movement, and The Grocery Store Musical, featured on ABC’s Good Morning America among other outlets, which is an arrangement of Lousia Melcher’s “New York Summer.” Daniel was also recently a creative leader for Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, a live streamed concert produced by Tony-winning Seaview Productions that raised over $2 million for The Actor’s Fund. Daniel served as music supervisor, songwriter, and arranger of the 10 song performance, which was praised by critics worldwide including the LA Times and New York Times, and starred Tituss Burgess, Wayne Brady, André De Shields, Adam Lambert, Andrew Barth Feldman, and Kevin Chamberlin.
Daniel’s original works include Breathe: Portraits from a Pandemic, Dot and the Kangaroo, commissioned by MTI Australaisa and iTheatrics, House Rules: A New Musical based on the New York Times Best Selling novel by Jodi Picoult, far memory, commissioned by Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar for Stephanie Blythe and Alan Louis Smith, Construction Site on Christmas Night. He also wrote on a new score for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, commissioned by Bay Area Children’s Theatre, The Letter; A New Opera, and a new score for Laura Eason’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer commissioned by MU Summer Repertory Theatre. He is a member of the advanced class of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.
Music Direction credits include Off-Broadway: Sistas, 54 Below Sings – ABBA, Ariana Grande, Pop Hits of the 2000s, The Jonas Brothers. Readings: Monstersongs (NAMT), The Big One-Oh! TYA, and Hans Christian Anderson TYA (The Kennedy Center’s New Visions, New Voices). iTheatrics Workshops: Heathers HSE, Chicago HSE, Andrew Lloyd Webber for Young Actors Cats, Mary Poppins JR., G2K… Footloose, Newsies JR., Sister Act JR., The Drowsy Chaperone JR., My Fair Lady School Edition, Finding Nemo JR.
Arrangement & Orchestration credits include “Princess” by Matthew Lee Robinson from Witches for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Hans Christian Andersen (additional arrangements and underscoring), The Big One Oh! (Off-Broadway – additional arrangements and underscoring), “Children Will Listen” by Stephen Sondheim, commissioned by the Junior Theater Festival for the 20th anniversary of Broadway JR. “Rainbow Connection” by Paul Williams on the occasion of his acceptance of the Junior Theater Festival Legacy Award, and over 50 songs for Oh, What a Night!, The Rhythm of Life, & Fantastical Families, and more, at Transcendence Theatre Company.
As an educator, he leads workshops at the international Junior Theater Festivals, Junior Theater Celebrations throughout the United States, and specialized music workshops for the Shubert Foundation and the NYC Department of Education. Daniel also graduated valedictorian from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and is mentored by Dean Pitchford. Born in Florida, Daniel has also lived in Germany, Las Vegas, and spent his formative years in Buffalo, New York before moving to New York City.
Sammy Lopez is a Latinx artist dedicated to uplifting underrepresented voices & stories through the arts. He is on the social media team at Marathon Digital, representing Broadway productions, regional theatres, and most recently, RATATOUILLE: The TikTok Musical. He made his Broadway co-producing debut with BE MORE CHILL and his current producing projects with Holtzman-Lopez Productions include GUN & POWDER (World Premiere: Signature Theatre 2020), HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO (in development), and the TYA musical BRADICAL (Zoom Edition now streaming on Broadway On Demand). He is a Supporting Teaching Artist with CO/LAB Theater Group, a non-profit organization offering individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater and he is proud to be on the New 42 Board of Directors, opening new worlds to young people and families at the New Victory Theatre. Most recently, he is a founding member of The Industry Standard Group (TISG), a multicultural commercial investment and producing organization strategically formed to promote work reflecting diversity and increase the presence of BIPOC investors and producers in the commercial producing arts and entertainment field. www.sammy-lopez.com
Nina Meehan is a founding company member of Bay Area Children’s Theatre where she has directed James and the Giant Peach, Little Women, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Pippi Longstocking and many others. She is very proud of her work producing and commissioning new works for young audiences including: Ivy+Bean, the Musical, Tales of Olympus, A Musical Adaptation of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and, most recently Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, the Musical. She is an award winning Youth Theatre Director, including her students 2013 Outstanding Achievements in Acting at the Broadway Jr. Festival in Atlanta, GA for her youth production of Pirates of Penzance. Nina was recognized as one of the 35-faces of Theatre Bay Area and a “Mom who Rocks” by Red Tricycle. Nina has proudly served on the Theatre Services Committee for Theatre Bay Area for the past eight years. She has worked throughout the Bay Area as an actress, educator, storyteller, and director. Nina received her BS in Theatre from Northwestern University and her Masters in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco.