Next Act! winner staged

New Suzanne Bradbeer drama, Naked Influence, makes its world premiere at Capital Repertory Theatre

A dancer’s past. A woman’s future. It’s about power.

Lucy likes the money she makes as a stripper, as well as the command over her customers, the governmental sway of her hips. But she also likes her new beau, a handsome young D.C. cop who doesn’t know about her craft, hell, her calling. And she likes the idea of finally pursuing the English degree that whispered in her ear even before she began twirling the pole for tips.

But when Dennis, a Washington power broker, steps into the club and walks into her life, everything changes.Suzanne Bradbeer’s Naked Influence, a new play about a woman’s singular journey, makes its world premiere at Capital Repertory Theatre, Jan. 22-Feb. 14.

Bradbeer is the author of The God Game, which also made its world premiere at theREP, in a production shared with Gulfshore Playhouse. Like The God Game, which was published by Samuel French, Inc. and has gone on to be a strong presence in regional theatre, Naked Influence is a graduate of theREP’s dramatic incubator, NEXT ACT! New Play Summit. It was the favored play to come out of the 2014 competition.

Naked Influence, set, in large part, in an upscale gentleman’s club, shares with its forebear a unique tension, crisp dialogue and a keen eye for today’s social climate.

“This play puts polarizing forces together,” says theREP’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, who is also directing the show. “Lucy and Dennis both feel they have control of their lives, but their behavior, reckless to some eyes, puts them on a collision course with reality that is great theatre and food for thought.”

Amanda Sykes, making her Capital Repertory Theatre debut, stars as Lucy, a lifer who wants it all, but who needs to dance, a moth drawn to a very peculiar flame. Sykes sports an MFA in acting from San Francisco’s prestigious American Conservatory Theater and has experience in classical theatre. New York credits include Drunkle Vanya and Twelfth Night or Sir Toby Belch’s Lonely Hearts Cabaret with the ultra-hip Three Day Hangover troupe (which updates classics in Manhattan barrooms).

Robert Newman plays Dennis, a congressman with a heart of stone. Newman, also new at theREP, is familiar from a 28-year run as Joshua Lewis on the longest running program in broadcast history, Guiding Light. A two-time Daytime Emmy Award nominee, Newman recently guest starred on Homeland, Criminal Minds, NCIS, and Law and Order: SVU, and his film credits include Amazing Spider-Man 2, Dracano and Deadline. He has an extensive off-Broadway and regional theatre resume.

The Capital Region’s own Yvonne Perry returns to theREP as Angie, the bar manager, housemom and former dancer who looks out for Lucy and keeps tabs on her regulars. Like Newman, Perry—who guested on Guiding Light and All My Children—is a veteran of daytime television, having originated the award-winning role of Rosanna Cabot on the CBS soap As The World Turns. Perry also created the role of Lisa in The God Game, and is excited to bring Bradbeer’s work to life again. Other Capital Repertory Theatre credits include The Sisters Rosensweig, A Christmas Story and Intimate Apparel.

Brenny Rabine, a mainstay at theREP, comes back to North Pearl Street as Lucy’s concerned sister Sammie. Rabine, who works frequently with Perry, has previously appeared downtown in Other Desert Cities, God Of Carnage, To Kill A Mockingbird and Boston Marriage, among others.

Lucy’s boyfriend, Tommy, is played by newcomer Andy Lucien, whose off-Broadway and regional credits include Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center, The Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville and, locally, Dorset Theatre Festival and Barrington Stage Company.

Julia Franklin and Nazli Sarpkaya round out the cast as fellow club dancers.

Mancinelli-Cahill’s production team for Naked Influence includes Costume Designer Thom Heyer, Lighting Designer Stephen Quandt, Sound Designer Jane Shaw and Set Designer Jason Sherwood, all of whom boast extensive resumes at theREP. Freddy Ramirez choreographs. And Sean McCain joins theREP as production stage manager.

Preview performances for Naked Influence take place Jan. 22-24. Opening night is Tuesday, Jan. 26. Regular performances continue through Sunday, Feb. 14. Performance times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday—with matinees 3 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3. Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany. Tickets range from $20 to $50. Students with valid ID: $16 all shows. For tickets and information, call Tickets By Proctors, (518) 445-SHOW (7469) or visit

Opening night includes live music in the café at 6:30 p.m., and complimentary post-show champagne and dessert. The Chef’s Table performance, on Tuesday, Feb. 2, includes live pre-show music and complimentary hors d’oeuvres, from The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, for ticketholders, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby.

Discussion nights for Naked Influence, featuring cast members fielding questions from the audience, will take place following the Wednesday evening performances on Feb. 3 & 10.

The Sunday, Feb. 14 matinee will be preceded by a Behind-the-Scenes event, which features complimentary light breakfast fare, from Cider Belly Doughnuts, for ticketholders, and discussion led by theREP’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill. Food service begins at 12:30 p.m., with the presentation following from 1-1:30 p.m.