The original cast of the long-running, Emmy-winning series “The West Wing” will stage and stream a theatrical performance of one of the show’s episodes to benefit the nonprofit organization When We All Vote.
Show creator Aaron Sorkin will executive produce alongside Thomas Schlamme — who will also direct — and producer Casey Patterson. The performance will shoot over multiple days at the iconic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles in early October.
Series stars Rob Lowe, Dule Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford and Martin Sheen will reprise their roles from the third season’s “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode. Special guest appearances, including by Michelle Obama, co-chair of When We All Vote, will be announced in the coming weeks.
The stage production connects Sorkin with his roots in the theater as the playwright of acclaimed productions “A Few Good Men,” “The Farnsworth Invention” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The screenwriter plans to script original exclusive material for the special, which is set to debut on the streaming service HBO Max.
“Tommy and I are incredibly excited to be getting `The West Wing’ cast back together for this staged reading and to support When We All Vote in their efforts to get all of us involved in this election,” Sorkin said.
In honor of the special, WarnerMedia will make a donation to When We All Vote, which was founded in 2018.
“With `A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote,’ we are excited to revisit this legendary series and offer our passionate fans something that is substantial, meaningful and unforgettable, while also promoting an important message for our time,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max. “Combined with WarnerMedia’s donation to When We All Vote, this special not only entertains, but also help ensure the organization can carry forth its mission to increase voter participation in every election.”
The episode tells the fictional story of tense negotiations between the American president and the Chinese government, which is conducting war games in the Taiwan Strait and threatening real war if Taiwan begins test firing its new U.S.-made, Patriot defense missiles. The president’s chief of staff is preoccupied by 42 votes in a remote New Hampshire town’s election, which are counted immediately and always predict the winner of that state’s primary.
The production, which will strictly follow industry COVID Safe Way Forward Protocols, will be produced by Casey Patterson Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.
During its seven seasons on NBC, “The West Wing” and its cast picked up 27 Emmys for its behind-the-scenes look at the lives of an eclectic group of harried staffers in the Oval Office and the West Wing of the White House. In addition to Emmy recognition, it received two Golden Globe Awards, seven Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Writers Guild of America Awards, two Directors Guild of America Awards, and five Television Critics Association Awards, among others.
When We All Vote was launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
The group, which bills itself as a nonpartisan organization, says its mission is “to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.”
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