- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2003

A retired woman labored through a love song that seemed out of place for a would-be Nixon administration insider, as Cybelle Pomeroy and a colleague exchanged whispers from behind a desk in a classroom.

Afterward, they wrote notes onto an audition evaluation form indicating the woman probably would not be selected for a lead singing role.

The song was part of the first day of auditions for a new play written by Mrs. Pomeroy called, “Watergate! The Musical.”

Mrs. Pomeroy is the playwright who recreates Richard Nixon, Bob Woodward, E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy and others into a musical comedy about the 1970s Watergate scandal. The play is scheduled to open in March at the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts in Brooklyn Park, Md.



She chose to turn the Watergate scandal into a comedy because, “it seemed funny,” she says. “I researched for well over a year. There were some things that were hysterically funny that I didn’t have to make up.”

First, Mrs. Pomeroy and the director, C.J. Crowe, must select a cast of at least 36 actors and singers.

On this early September evening at the creative arts center, five actors show up to audition. Each fills out a form listing background information before demonstrating two-minute monologues, songs and dance routines they have prepared.

“You have absolutely no frame of reference,” Mrs. Pomeroy tells a young woman in her early 20s sitting at the intake table, much too young to remember the Nixon presidency.

“I admit to 30,” Mrs. Pomeroy says about her own age.

After monologues taken from famous plays and songs that ranged from professional to screechy, the actors proceeded to the dance routines.

Mrs. Pomeroy left the dance evaluations to the director rather adding to the small group of onlookers. “That would make them more nervous, wouldn’t it?” she wonders out loud as she stands in the hallway of the creative arts center.

Mrs. Pomeroy has been writing plays since she graduated from Loyola College in Baltimore. Her credits include “View Thru Quarter Pane,” a play that won a Maryland State Arts Council award about “the multidimensional nature of love,” Mrs. Pomeroy says.

She explains her playwrighting efforts as an outgrowth of her creative nature.

“I like linking absurd things,” she says. “I like strange juxtapositions.”

She and her husband live in Baltimore with their two elementary school-age children.

Her Watergate musical begins with an actress playing the playwright telling the audience, “When it comes right down to it, maybe there is no such thing as truth, only point of view.”

It ends with members of the Nixon administration awaiting sentencing for their role in the break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters.

In the closing scene, the Cuban exiles who burglarized the Democratic headquarters are discussing with convicted conspirator Jim McCord what they will do while in prison.

“Maybe I’ll write a book, like Eduardo,” the McCord character tells the Cubans.

Eduardo is the Spanish name the Cubans used for E. Howard Hunt, consultant to the Nixon administration and a convicted Watergate conspirator.

“Or two, if they no letting us out soon,” one of the Cubans responds.

“Well, maybe I write a book, too, hey Villo,” a second Cuban says.

“Sure, good idea. What will you write about?” the McCord character says.

The second Cuban says, “You know, I thinkin’ I write this story about these guys who do this job for a government, because they want to get this bad guy out of power, but something go wrong for them and they wind up in jail.”

“Ah, fiction then,” the McCord character says.

“No, no, it’s all the truth,” the Cuban says. “And I going to be in it, and you going to be in it, and Eduardo and all you guys, and Mister Nixon.”

Interspersed with the dialogue are original songs with titles such as “I Spy, You Spy” and “The Watergate Song.” One of the songs, titled “Goodbye Mrs. Liddy,” is sung by a character playing G. Gordon Liddy after the first arrests in the scandal. Mr. Liddy, finance counsel for the Nixon administration’s Committee to Re-Elect the President, was convicted as a conspirator in the burglary at the Watergate Hotel.

“We were doing what we could to protect the American way,” say the lyrics written by Mrs. Pomeroy.

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