Theater News

The West Wing‘s Martin Sheen and Melissa Fitzgerald to Perform Love Letters for Recovery Month

The former TV costars will perform A.R. Gurney’s two-person play at the Kennedy Center.

Martin Sheen at a rally in support of federal treament court funding in Washington, DC July 2011
Martin Sheen at a 2011 rally in support of federal treatment court funding

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced that The West Wing‘s Martin Sheen and Melissa Fitzgerald will reunite for three performances of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters in celebration of Recovery Month. Directed by Cameron Watson, the performances will be held on September 28 at 7:30pm and September 30 at 1:30pm and 7:30pm in the Terrace Theater.

Love Letters is composed of letters exchanged over a lifetime between two people who grew up together, went their separate ways, but continued to share confidences. As the actors read the letters aloud, what is created is an evocative, touching, frequently funny but always telling pair of character studies in which what is implied is as revealing and meaningful as what is actually written down.

In 2020, Sheen and Fitzgerald began work on a production of Love Letters to be performed at RISE, the annual training conference for treatment court professionals. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in-person events, they pivoted and performed the play virtually during Recovery Month as a thank-you to public health and public safety professionals working in treatment courts. The pair will perform the play in-person for the first time at the Kennedy Center.

For over two decades, Sheen has been a champions of treatment courts, specialized programs that deliver treatment and recovery support to individuals in the justice system due to substance use and mental health disorders. In 2011, Sheen invited Fitzgerald — his friend and former West Wing colleague who had recently lost someone close to her to a substance use disorder — to Washington, D.C. to attend RISE, the annual training conference for treatment court professionals. A year later, Fitzgerald made the decision to leave Hollywood and move to Washington, D.C. to work for All Rise where she has spent the last decade championing treatment courts and fighting for justice reform.