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Arena commissioned journalist Lawrence Wright as playwright and would send him to Georgia to interview the Carters and to Israel and Egypt to talk with surviving members of their delegations.

Still, Wright had reservations about the project at first. The hardest thing was trying to figure out who would be in the play and who would be left out from the more than 100 who were at Camp David.

“It was the addition of Rosalynn Carter that really made it into a play,” Wright said. “She made peace among the peacemakers.”

In the production, Thomas plays President Carter, Ron Rifkin plays Begin and Egyptian actor Khaled Nabawy plays Sadat. Hallie Foote plays Rosalynn Carter, relieving some of the tension with laughs and practical advice.

In Carter, Thomas said he found an interesting mix of idealism and pragmatism.

“Here you have a man whose idealism, I think, is very genuine,” he said. “So there is this warmth but there is also steel underneath it, so getting those two things together is one of the challenges and one of the pleasures of playing the part.”

Camp David” runs through May 4 in Washington.

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Follow Brett Zongker at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat