NBC's political drama "The West Wing" has alluded to the upcoming fictional production of The Wars of the Roses by London's Royal National Company. The event — which is a supposed Catholic Church fund-raising benefit production that combines Shakespeare's Henry plays — will be featured in the season finale, to air May 22.
The exterior shots were filmed at Broadway's Booth Theatre while the interiors were set at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theatre. (Photos of the Booth Theatre exterior can be seen by clicking here.)
The fictional play is the setting of the encounter between President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his upcoming Republican presidential race rival Rob Ritchie (guest star James Brolin). The final episode of the season "Posse Comitatus" sees the incumbent President's current moral dilemma mirrored by the comparable struggles of the Plantagenet.
The Booth Theatre was decked out with all things theatrical including quotes from fictional reviews for the Aaron Sorkin creation. Among them were New York Times quipping "Magnificent production," the New York Post imploring "Witness The Wars," "Absolutely exquisite" from Curtain Up and "Dramatic and stunning!" from Playbill's own faux reporter Patrina Chin. Detail was taken down to the cast and creative team as a poster listed the headliners Michael Stassi, Sean Riddle and Ellen Totleben under the direction of Itamar Kubovy and producer Dan Bishop.
Playbill® Publisher and President Philip Birsh granted the NBC drama special permission to use the Playbill name and logo to create a mock Playbill for the show. Copies will be donated to Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids and made available through their website. Mary-Louise Parker (Proof) also guest stars in her recurring role as the feminist activist/love interest of presidential aide Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford). A special appearance will be made by Lily Tomlin (The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe) as a possible replacement for the deceased Presidential Secretary Mrs. Dolores Landingham. Allison Janney, John Spencer, Rob Lowe, Richard Schiff, Dule Hill and Janel Moloney also star.
— by Ernio Hernandez