A timely reunion special of The West Wing will be hitting HBO Max. The live theatrical event will promote voting in the 2020 election and will be available to stream via HBO Max in early October.
A Theatrical Reunion for a Cause
“A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote” will be a theatrical performance of one of the series’ most notable episodes. The cast will perform Season 3 Episode 15, “Hartsfield’s Landing,” which follows the beginning of a fictional presidential primary. The live reenactment of the episode will take place at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles.
When We All Vote
The special will raise awareness for the When We All Vote initiative, a nonpartisan project dedicated to increasing voter participation.
That’s because the U.S. is notorious for low voter turnout. In the 2016 presidential election, only about 56% of voting-aged Americans actually cast a ballot. Of the 32 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a coalition of the world’s most developed democracies, the United States ranked 26th in terms of voter participation. Not great.
But as the most consequential general election in a lifetime draws near, voter turnout will be essential in shaping the country’s path beyond the COVID pandemic. In addition to simply raising awareness, WarnerMedia will donate proceeds from the event to When We All Vote.
A Night of Big Talent
The highly talented cast including Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, and Martin Sheen will return to the same roles they played at the end of the Millennium.
Aaron Sorkin, the show’s creator who has also written such hits as The Social Network and The Newsroom, will also be returning. The dialogue genius will write some original material for the special. And finally, Thomas Schlamme and Casey Patterson, producers of the original series, will also be on hand.
“Tommy and I are incredibly excited,” Sorkin said. He added that he was happy to “support When We All Vote in their efforts to get all of us involved in this election.”
What Ever Happened to that “Friends” Special?
For those who follow HBO Max news, you might be reminded of another reunion special of an iconic late-90s show. HBO Max had planned an extremely expensive Friends reunion to be part of its launch. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put that plan on hold.
The cast had signed on for an unscripted reunion back in May. Understandably, that proved impossible at the time. But two weeks ago the studio announced it would be pushing back the reunion yet again. No new date has been set.
In any event, the film and TV industry is just beginning to get a hang of production in the COVID era. HBO will employ several safety measures to allow a hazard-free filming of the West Wing special. And if they can master this reunion, the Friends special will likely be close behind.