The cast and creators of “The West Wing” are reuniting to perform together for the first time in nearly two decades in a special set at HBO Max, Variety has learned.
“A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote” will debut on the streamer this fall. It will feature a theatrical staging of the “Hartsfield’s Landing” episode from the show’s third season and will be shot at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles in early October. The special is meant to raise awareness for When We All Vote, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization co-chaired by Michelle Obama which was founded to increase participation in every election in America.
Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, and Martin Sheen will reprise their roles from the episode, which will be shot under COVID Safe Way Forward Protocols.. Series creator Aaron Sorkin will write original material for the event. Sorkin will also executive produce along with Thomas Schlamme and Casey Patterson. Schlamme, who directed over a dozen episodes of and executive produced the original series, will direct the special. In addition, WarnerMedia will make a donation to When We All Vote.
“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.
The show will also feature guest appearances, including a special message from Obama, among others. Additional cast members and special guests from the worlds of public service and the arts will be announced in the coming weeks.
“A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote” is produced by Casey Patterson Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Unscripted Television. Along with Sorkin, Schlamme, and Patterson executive producing, Rob Paine is co-executive producer.
“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 West Wing” was a critical hit upon its release, with the show winning 27 Emmy Awards over the course of its seven season run on NBC. It also won two Peabody Awards, two Humanitas Prizes, two Golden Globes, seven Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Writers Guild of America Awards, two Directors Guild of America Awards, and five Television Critics Association Awards, among many others. It was produced by John Wells Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
The reunion of “The West Wing” cast comes as HBO Max has repeatedly delayed an unscripted reunion special of another TV classic — “Friends.” Originally meant to debut in May with the launch of the streaming service, the “Friends” reunion has been delayed repeatedly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of this publishing, no new filming dates have been set.
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