"The West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin is reuniting the cast of his Emmy Award-winning drama series for a streaming special to help benefit the nonpartisan voter-participation group When We All Vote.
HBO Max announced Tuesday that Sorkin and fellow "West Wing" executive producer Thomas Schlamme will reunite stars Martin Sheen, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford for their first full-length performance together in 17 years for a staged reading of the season 3 episode "Hartsfield's Landing."
"A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote" will shoot over multiple days in October at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles and stream in the fall.
In a statement, the 59-year-old Sorkin called himself and Schlamme, who will direct, "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." The nonprofit organization seeks to increase voter participation in elections at every level.
The episode, which originally aired Feb. 27, 2002, on NBC, finds President Josiah Bartlet (Sheen) playing chess separately with White House communications director Toby Ziegler (Schiff) and Ziegler's deputy, Sam Seaborn (Lowe), as the administration staff awaits the results of a vote at the titular New Hampshire town. Concurrently, Bartlet engages in brinkmanship with China over Taiwan, and press secretary C.J. Cregg (Janney) exchanges pranks with presidential aide Charlie Young (Hill).
Whitford played deputy White House chief of staff Josh Lyman while Moloney portrayed Donna Moss, chief of staff to first lady Abigail Bartlet (played by Stockard Channing in the series, but who does not appear in the "Hartsfield's Landing" episode). It was unclear who will play chief of staff Leo McGarry in place of the deceased John Spencer. "Additional cast members and special guests from the worlds of public service and the arts will be announced in the coming weeks," HBO Max said.
Members of the cast previously reunited in character for a 4-minute political ad in 2012.
The special will feature messages from When We All Vote co-chair Michelle Obama, among others. The organization's 12 co-chairs include "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda; TV writer-producer Shonda Rhimes; singers Selena Gomez, Faith Hill and Janelle Monáe; and actors Tom Hanks, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington and Rita Wilson.