Get Out Alive is a new autobiographical musical by indie artist, actor and activist Nikki Lynette. This afrogoth musical is equal parts raucous, tender, intelligent and triumphant. Recounting her personal journey marked by abuse, grief, sexual assault and suicide, Lynette raises mental health awareness through the lens of a hip-hop concert. Using storytelling, song, dance, visual media and a live DJ, Lynette’s offbeat approach to sharing her personal mental health journey shows that even when life leads us to a bad place, we can always make it out alive.
Since it’s completion in 2021, the film adaptation of Get Out Alive has been invited into nine festivals, including the biggest Black film fest in the world, The Pan African Film+Art Festival. The musical won Best Actress and was a Nominee for Best Feature at BronzeLens Film Fest, it won Best Feature at Lake County Film fest, and won Best First Time Filmmaker at the Chicago Indie Film Awards.
“Those who saw the play, as did I, watched an immensely talented and arresting performer… It was honestly intimate, sometimes to the point of pain. But this was not a polemic or a couple of hours filled by dry lessons. Most left the theater with, yes, a greater understanding of the ravages and realities of mental illness but also with an appreciation of the artfulness and courage it took to bring it all on stage. They were entertained.” – Rick Kogan, The Chicago Tribune
“The pertinent attention to the auditory experience sets the pace for what is in store for the rest of the evening. Lynette performs songs throughout the piece sometimes with wonderfully scored backing tracks and occasionally a capella. The audience is embraced as an active listener and the safe space within the confines of these walls the conversation is ripped open through melody and color.”
Amy Guth has an in-depth discussion about Nikki’s her inspirational journey of improving her mental health as gives some insight into her new play Get Out Alive. Stream the full interview on wgnradio.com
On the new episode, The Cornerstore spoke to rapper/poet/actress Nikki Lynette about being in Chicago’s hip-hop industry for decades & her new solo show. In addition, the show’s producer & longtime friend of the podcast, composer & songwriter Ira Antelis joined in to talk about producing Nikki’s show & more.
Nikki’s upbeat tune My Mind Ain’t Right was prominently featured in episode 6 of the new hit series Work In Progress on Showtime. Check out the full song on all major streaming platforms.
NIKKI LYNETTE (she/her) is a performer, writer, and visual artist whose style is equal parts hip hop, alternative, and pop. A Chicago native, her profound sense of individuality has been the cornerstone of her career an as indie artist. Her self-produced tunes have been featured in popular shows on MTV, Fox, Hulu, Netflix, and more and have garnered digital and print features for publications like Billboard, XXL, Bust, and Vibe. After a hiatus from releasing new music at the height of her career, Nikki Lynette returned to the public eye with a confession: she’d secretly been battling mental health issues. She began writing articles about depression and suicide for prominent sites like BlackDoctor, Afropunk and AllHipHop, and held her own among medical professionals in live chats and panel discussions with hundreds of thousands of viewers. Her mental health documentary Happy Songs About Unhappy Things is currently in production. She is represented by Stewart Talent.
ROGER ELLIS (they/them) is a director/choreographer and dramaturge whose work centers on physically driven, inclusive, and transformational theatrical experiences. As a director, Roger focuses on the development of new work and the bold reimagining of established performance texts. He has worked across the United States with companies such as Sacramento Music Circus, Paramount Theatre, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Pace University, Marymount Manhattan College, Tuacahn Center for the Arts, San Diego Repertory, and Gallery Players Brooklyn. His directing credits include Parade, A Little Night Music, The Wild Party (LaChiusa/Wolfe), The Light in the Piazza (Associate Director/ Movement Coach), A Year With Frog and Toad, Maverick (Associate Director/Choreographer), and the NYC premiere of Laura Pittenger’s Thou Shalt Not. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (Associate).
BRANNON BOWERS (they/them) is the Producing Director of the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University where they have helped develop over 20 new musicals and established an ongoing international partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to commission and produce two new musicals for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every year. Brannon also produces the annual Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project and currently serves on the Festival Committee for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT). Prior to their time at Northwestern, Brannon worked at McCarter Theatre Center as the Producing/ Casting Apprentice, and has held internships at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Redmoon Theater. Brannon is a proud graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in Theatre, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Integrated Marketing Communications.
LUCKY STIFF (they/them) is a director and performer working in Chicago and New York. They build original experiences that often combine nightclub culture with performance art, as well as classic stories. Their work spans theater, burlesque, and performance art and takes inspiration from Weimar, Germany, Pierrot clowns, and golden age musicals. Their performances have been featured at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Disco Dining Club and Bushwig Festival of Drag, among many others. They are a coproducer of GODDESS at Berlin Nightclub and a cohost of The Tea Podcast. They hold an MFA in directing for theater from Northwestern University.
MATT HENNESSY (he/him) is the Chief Engineer, Producer, and Studio Owner here at VSOP Studios. Receiving formal training at Berklee College of Music, studying both Jazz Performance and Production, Hennessy spent the next 2 decades working behind the board with the best of the best talent in the music business. Helming landmark projects with Twista, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, R. Kelly and DMX to helping newer artists emerge, like Eryn Allen Kane, Elton Aura and The O’My’s. Regardless of where you are in your musical journey, Matt Hennessy can help you bring out your best in the studio and achieve the sound you have only ever heard in you head, blast out of the speakers.
IRA ANTELIS (he/him) is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, and influencer. With over 30 years of experience, Ira is known for his melodic memorability and diverse set of skills. Ira has written and produced music for commercials, pop albums, movies, and theatre, and won numerous awards for music he’s composed. His work ranges from jingles like Gatorade’s “Be Like Mike” to his experimental piano record “Reflections.” Ira spent more than 10 years as the Music Director for Leo Burnett where he composed the music for Disney’s anniversary song called “Remember The Magic” and “Celebrate The Future” for the millennium. He has also been involved in the production of several acclaimed tv shows, films, and plays, with 3 of the stage musicals he has composed being performed in New York, Chicago, and Edinburgh.