HALLOWELL – Gaslight Theater is presenting “Mastergate” for its first production of its 2004 season. It runs March 25 to 27 and April 1 to 3 at Hallowell City Hall.

“Mastergate” is a Watergate-style hearing taking place in spite of Congress. It was written by Larry Gelbart, the author of the television series M*A*S*H as well as co-writer of the script for the movies “Tootsie” and “Oh God” and the script for the musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

This political satire is the latest “gate” scandal, which takes place as Congress holds hearings looking into shady dealings between a film studio and the White House.

The government has seized the movie studio for back taxes. The CIA has armed banana republic guerrillas and millions of dollars have been laundered through the budget of the forthcoming epic “Tet: The Movie.”

Television reporter Merry Chase provides a play-by-play as witnesses squirm before congressional interrogators who want to know what the president knew and did he have any idea that he knew it.

It brings Bruce Hertz (as Chief Counsel Hunter) back on the boards after an absence. It features favorites such as George Dunn (as Sen. Bowman), Ryan Gould (as Major Battle), David Ehrenkrantz (as Secretary of State Bishop, Sen. Bunting, Attorney W. Slaughter and Mr. Butler), Bob Witham (as Attorneys Child, Picker and Boyle), Bob Dunbar (as Rep. Proctor and Vice President Burden) and Hall-Dale student Hannah Frankel (as Merry Chase), all of them longtime Gaslight veterans.

Newcomers Maryann Mermey (as Rep. Byers, Mrs. Battle, Mrs. Burden and Mrs. Slaughter), Audrey Johnson (as Mrs. Butler, Mrs. Lamb and Rep. Sellers), Ben Gervais (as Sen. Knight and Mr. Lamb) along with elementary school student Emma Olson and middle school student Kylie Keene as congressional pages round out the cast.

The director is Richard Bostwick and assistant, Judi Bastion.

“Mastergate” performances will be 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays and 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Tickets are $8 for adults, and $6 for students and seniors. For reservations, people can call 626-3698.

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