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Southwest Las Vegas plays feature mostly 55-and-up cast

Around 50 people sat in the small Theatre, a space owned and operated by Super Summer Theatre in southwest Las Vegas, to watch a set of two one-act plays by The Speeding Theatre-Over 55. Mostly set in a boarding house in 1950s Chicago, “Any Body for Tea?” opens with Dennis O’Finn, an Irish-American homicide detective, begging Capt. Williams to reassign him from the homicide unit.

The Speeding Theatre-Over 55 and Super Summer Theatre cast members put on “Any Body for Tea?” and “The Omelet Murder Case” — two one-act plays — on March 7.

With a cast of mostly Las Vegas residents 55 and older, the plays were performed first at the Super Summer Theatre space.

Six older, excited women live across the street from O’Finn, played by Jeff Vegas. They quickly grow infatuated with the bachelor and come up with a scheme to lure him into their house.

Louise Rauckhorst played one of the women, Miss Amantha. She described her character as “the smartest one of the ladies.”

Rauckhorst is the secretary and board member of The Speeding Theatre and has been involved in the group with her husband, Al, since its inception in 2011. The group is the first and only senior Theatre company granted a corporate charter in Nevada and operates as a nonprofit.

Before The Speeding Theatre was founded, Louise and other current members participated in a program at UNLV called Senior Adult Theatre. When it was discontinued, a group of performers got together and found The Speeding Theatre-Over 55.

The group formed because members wanted to continue to produce and entertain the city. The group started holding weekly workshops, performing shows at nursing homes, senior centers, libraries and other public places, and producing plays and musicals.

Auditions for Speeding Theatre productions are open to people of all ages.

Michael Duvall, a physical education teacher at Nasri Academy for Gifted Children who is not a member of The Speeding Theatre, spent his first time on stage playing the lead in “The Omelet Murder Case.”

The play opens with Duvall, playing “Shake” Speare — Chicago’s top private investigator — waltzing to the front of the stage to smooth jazz. Dressed in a trench coat, “Shake” is known for his investigative work and his trashy crime stories such as “Who Poisoned Juliet?” and “Don’t Go In the Tower With Richard.”

The show is a kind of satirical version of Hamlet, where “Shake” is hired to investigate the death of Hamlet’s father. “Shake,” however, can’t pronounce the name Hamlet and decides to call him Omelet.

Duvall has been acting for years in film and television. He said he was in a television show called “Nowhere Man” in which he played an FBI agent and in a film called “Imaginary Crimes,” in which he played a police officer.

Duvall’s wife, Audra, directed “The Omelet Murder Case” with The Speeding Theatre and Super Summer Theatre. When Duvall tried out for the part, he said, “I felt like I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to work with my wife; she is an actor’s director. She brings out the best in an actor. I wanted to experience that.”

The Speeding Theatre participates in the Las Vegas Little Theatre Fringe Festival, two weekends of plays and performances less than 90 minutes each. This year, the festival will be held June 7-16 at the Las Vegas Little Theatre facility near Spring Mountain Road and Valley View Boulevard.

Contact Rachel Spacek at 702-387-2921 or rspacek@reviewjournal.com. Follow @RachelSpacek on Twitter.

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