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Former President Carter Pushes for 'Camp David' on Broadway

  • Associated Press

FILE - Former President Jimmy Carter.

FILE - Former President Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter has been a governor, the nation's commander in chief and a Nobel Prize winner. One thing he still would like to see is himself on a Broadway stage.

The 39th president is hoping Lawrence Wright's play "Camp David" can find a Broadway theater and remind New York audiences about the bravery that went into the landmark 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

"It will be quite an emotional experience for me to see it on Broadway," Carter said by phone. "The play resurrected all of these emotions, at least for me and my wife."

"Camp David" centers on the 13 grueling days of negotiations between Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin that led to the Middle East's most durable peace treaty.

Debuted in D.C.

The play made its world debut last spring at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and is planned to play at The Old Globe in San Diego next summer.

A spokesman for the show, Rick Miramontez, confirmed Thursday that talks are underway to find a space on Broadway for the 2016-17 season. Its producers are Steve Traxler and Gerald Rafshoon, former White House communications director under Carter.

The 90-year-old Carter, who is in Vail, Colorado, attending a summit for supporters of The Carter Center, said there will be a reading of it this week with Carter supporters.

But he admitted that he went to the play's opening night last year with some trepidation.

He said he initially tried to find faults in the portrayal, but Wright had "studied my character and my disposition and my idiosyncrasies quite thoroughly."

Carter said many in the audience were in tears by the end.

"It was really a pleasant surprise to me that it was as good as it turned out," he said.

The Carters cooperated in making the play, providing their diaries and sitting for interviews, but they did not review or edit the script.

Hard to replicate

The treaty, which called for a formal peace agreement to be signed and diplomatic relations to be established between Egypt and Israel, has been hard to replicate.

"I was fortunate in having two very knowledgeable and courageous and also popular people to negotiate with each other," said Carter, who personally shuttled between Begin and Sadat. "We haven't had that kind of commitment and capability."

No casting was announced for the four-character play on Broadway.

At Arena Stage, Richard Thomas starred as Carter, Ron Rifkin played Begin, Egyptian film star Khaled Nabawy portrayed Sadat and Hallie Foote was Carter's wife, Rosalynn.

Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, also wrote the book "Thirteen Days in September: The Dramatic Story of the Struggle for Peace," "The Looming Tower" and "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief."

If it comes, "Camp David" would join a list of recent dramas about American presidential politics, including Gore Vidal's "The Best Man," David Mamet's "November" and the upcoming musical "Hamilton."

One seat will be filled at least if "Camp David" does land on Broadway.

"I'll be there," Carter promised.

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