Last month, we learned Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, and Bradley Whitford would be reuniting with original series creator Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme for HBO Max's A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote. Set to film over several days at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles in early October, the special will feature a theatrical performance of "Hartsfield's Landing," the famous third season episode that finds Sheen's President Barlet playing chess against Sam (Lowe) and Toby (Schiff) as the Chinese play war games in the Taiwan Strait. Meanwhile, Josh (Whitford) stresses the 42 votes in a remote New Hampshire town's election- an election that always predicts the winner of that state's primary. Sorkin will write original material for the special, with Schlamme serving as production director.
With the event expected to film early next month and with us already in the bottom-half of September, it's no surprise that work would be getting underway. Yet that didn't take away from the coolness that came with seeing "President Bartlett" and some of his "administration" back together. In the tweet below, Whitford shared a picture of himself with Sheen and Hill to let everyone know the band's back together- and remind everyone to vote:
— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) September 21, 2020
While the cast and creative team have reunited in the past for panels, podcasts, late-night sketches, and even election campaign ads, this is the first time that a reunion of this size and scope will air on television. "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," said Sorkin when the event was first announced.
Along with giving fans a chance to revisit one of their favorite series, the special is also meant to raise awareness for and support When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization co-chaired by former First Lady Michelle Obama which was founded to increase participation in U.S. elections (with WarnerMedia making a donation to the organization). Michelle Obama will make a guest appearance in the special, with announcements of additional cast members and special guests set to be rolled out over the next few weeks. Casey Patterson Entertainment and Warner Horizon Unscripted Television produce, with Sorkin, Schlamme, and Casey Patterson executive producing, and Rob Paine co-executive producing.