Get Out Alive is a new autobiographical musical by independent 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. The first songs from Get Out Alive were performed in 2018, when Lynette opened for Russian feminist protest punk rock group Pussy Riot. The full piece was later workshopped in a developmental reading produced by the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University in May 2019. Lynette was the first black woman to have her work developed and produced by AMTP, and the first AMTP work to debut at Steppenwolf. It was also the first Steppenwolf LookOut Series work to add a 5th sold out show, after the initial run sold out three weeks early.
“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 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 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).
IRA ANTELIS 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.
Brannon Bowers 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.
Under the Artistic Director David H. Bell, Northwestern’s Donald G. Robertson Director of Music Theatre, Associate Artistic Director Ryan Cunningham and Producing Director Brannon Bowers, American Music Theater Project brings together the nation’s leading artists in music theatre to work with Northwestern’s faculty, staff and students to nourish and invigorate American music theatre by developing and producing new musicals. Each project will culminate in public presentations at Northwestern’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free and open to the public. For performance times and venue information, visit the AMTP website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.