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'West Wing' Cast Reunites On HBO Max To Promote Voter Registration

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For years, fans have been begging for a reunion of "West Wing," the show set in the White House that ran for seven seasons until 2006. Well, tonight, they're getting it. The cast will be together on HBO Max to promote Michelle Obama's nonpartisan organization, When We All Vote, which aims to register voters. They're going to reimagine the "Hartsfield's Landing" episode onstage.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some highlights from that episode include these - President Josiah Bartlet juggling multiple games of chess with his advisers. And two staffers are deeply embroiled in a prank battle.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE WEST WING")

ALLISON JANNEY: (As C.J.) He Krazy-glued my phone.

BRADLEY WHITFORD: (As Josh) Who?

JANNEY: (As C.J., laughter) Charlie. Charlie Krazy-glued my phone.

MARTIN: At the end of that episode, a short closing sequence shows news coverage of first-in-the-nation voting. At 12:01 a.m. in the tiny town of Hartsfield's Landing, one by one, residents are called up to vote.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE WEST WING")

JAMES KEANE: Lillian Brading (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: Here.

KEANE: Lillian's 18, everyone. This is her first vote.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: Thanks.

INSKEEP: Actor James Keane played the town's school principal and only voting official who announced those names.

KEANE: I just remember it was fun. Everybody was - the extras that were being the voters - everybody was, like, happy. It was, like, a big deal. And I never realized that this episode might show up at a crucial time in our country when voting was so important.

INSKEEP: James Keane and Martin Sheen, who played President Bartlet, first worked together on "Apocalypse Now." That movie was filmed in the Philippines under the martial law regime of then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

KEANE: I remember being in the Philippines and asking a Filipino lady, do you like Marcos? And she put her finger up to her lips like, shh - shook her head no. I thought, jeez, we don't like the president, at least we could say so.

MARTIN: Freedom of expression is one of the messages that the cast hopes to get across tonight in their special benefit for When We All Vote.

(SOUNDBITE OF W.G. SNUFFY WALDEN'S "WEST WING - MAIN TITLE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.