Daniel Mertzlufft is known for helping to launch the Ratatouille Musical movement on TikTok, which culminated with a live-streamed production that raised more than $2 million for Tthe Actors Fund.
Daniel has over 72,000 followers on TikTok and previously appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden to present Thanksgiving: The TikTok Musical.
His next project is a TikTok collaboration on the first musical ever to be commissioned by the video-sharing app, cleverly titled For You, Paige.
NationalWorld caught up with Mertzlufft ahead of the launch to find out more about the musical.
“TikTok changed the way we conceived of theatre”
Since launching in 2016, TikTok has been downloaded to several billion phones and has become the home of many creatives.
Discussing the impact that the app has had on creators, Mertzlufft said: “TikTok changed the way we conceived of theatre.
“There is a traditional methodology of how a show gets to Broadway or the West End, and sometimes that works, but there are other ways.”
Daniel’s production was commissioned by TikTok in January of this year and is being performed barely three months later.
Daniel said that when working on For You, Paige, he wanted to ensure that the production was both accessible and intimate.
“What’s more intimate than your phone?” he said. “You are on this little plastic screen for hours every day, we put so much of ourselves into it.”
Another benefit that TikTok brought Daniel was that it put him in contact with so many people who he would not otherwise have met, and opened up opportunities that were off-limits during the Covid pandemic.
“People work on this from all over the country. I have such an amazing team of co-producers and directors,” he said.
Something that resonates with the TikTok community
The title of the musical is a pun on TikTok’s ‘For You Page’ feature which shows user-recommended videos.
The story is about teenage music nerd, Landon, and his best friend Paige, who collaborate on a TikTok song which goes viral and thrusts Landon into the spotlight.
Paige is left behind until Landon realises that he can’t become a real success without Paige’s help, and the pair come back together to make a great show.
The storyline is inspired by the experiences of TikTok creators who find themselves going viral almost overnight.
Daniel said that the pun came first and the storyline was written around it - it was important for him that the core of the story was something that would resonate with the TikTok community.
He also said that, while there are elements of his story in the musical, it is also the story of many individuals.
So many people have had that experience of posting something online and their life changing overnight,” he said.
“I posted that Ratatouille video and a week later I was talking to the New York Times about a musical that didn’t even exist.
“I like to think I handled it better than Landon - he’s not very likeable at the start, but you do come around to him in the end.”
How to watch For You, Paige on TikTok
Well the first step is to download the free TikTok app if you’re one of the few remaining people on Earth who doesn’t already have it installed.
When you’ve installed the app, search for the official @TikTok account and register for free to the live event shown on the profile.
For You Paige will be streamed live from New York City on Thursday 14 April at 7pm ET (Friday 15 April at 12am UK time).