Niko Tsakalakos is a singer/songwriter and composer/lyricist who recently released his debut solo album, The First Snow, featuring Orchestrations by Brian Usifer (Associate Music Supervisor, Book of Mormon; Conductor, Kinky Boots). Originally from New Brunswick, NJ, Niko cut his teeth in the music scene playing the LA circuit as a drummer/lead vocalist with his indie rock band, Saint Friday, in the late 90s and early 2000s. They headlined venues such as the Troubador, The Viper Room and the Roxy. He caught the 'theatre bug' while in LA (of all places) and moved back east to pursue an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where he studied under the mentorship of two-time Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist William Finn.
His musical, Pool Boy, which he co-wrote with Janet Allard, received a world premiere production at Barrington Stage Company in the summer of 2010 to sold-out audiences. The show also found a home in New York at The Provincetown Playhouse, an NYU Steinhardt Production in the spring of 2012. Pool Boy has recently been commissioned by Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera as a re-imagined cabaret. Stay tuned!
He is currently writing a new folk-rock musical with Janet Allard, Into the Wild, inspired by the best-selling book by Jon Krakauer. The show was commissioned by Perseverance Theatre [PT] in Alaska and received development support from the Ground Floor at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The developmental premiere ran at Encore Musical Theatre Company in Dexter Michigan in May of 2017 to packed houses and rave reviews!
Niko also currently works with San Fransisco-based playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. Their collaboration started with a few satirical songs they co-wrote for a play of Peter's called Litter: The Story of the Framingham Dodecatuplets, which was produced in 2011 at ACT. They are now writing a full-length eco-consious musical, Fall Springs, which has received generous development support from Ars Nova, New Dramatists and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. A New York showcase of the show took place at the York Theatre in December 2016.
Niko is known for his song cycles, cabarets and concerts such as Late Nite with Niko, Songs of a Night Owl, Driving West and The Niko Songbook, which have found audiences at major New York venues like Birdland, 54 Below, The Zipper Factory, Ars Nova and Lincoln Center, among others, joined by some of Broadway's best performers.
Niko is a 2017 Larson Grant Finalist and a 2015 Keban Award Finalist. In 2015, Niko was invited to be a Composer Fellow at the Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat at Ucross, Wyoming. He was selected for the 2014 & 2011 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. He is a two-time recipient of the Barry Manilow Scholarship for "Writing Lyrics that Succeed and Endure." He is also proud member of the Ars Nova family of artists, appearing in the Uncharted Series in 2011 and AntFest in 2009. Niko received an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theatre Program at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.