Grease: Live just aired in January, but Fox-TV is already presenting its next live musical special. The Passion, a two-hour original musical pageant about the final hours of Jesus Christ on Earth, is being broadcast live 8-10 PM ET March 20.
Telenovela’s Jencarlos Canela stars as Jesus, comic actor Tyler Perry serves as host and narrator, Grammy-winning singer-songwrighter Seal plays Pontius Pilate, American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry plays Judas, Latin musician Prince Royce plays the apostle Peter and country singer Trisha Yearwood plays Jesus’ mother, Mary.
Perry recently completed a national tour of his stage comedy Madea on the Run.
Watch the trailer here:
The Passion follows roughly the same time period as another musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, from the Last Supper through Jesus' betrayal by Judas, the trial before Roman governor Pontius Pilate, the crucifixion and the resurrection.
The broadcast takes place Palm Sunday, one week before Easter, which coincides with the time period of the story.
The show is being performed in various locations around New Orleans and includes “a procession of hundreds of people carrying a 20-foot, illuminated cross from Champion Square outside the Superdome to the live stage at Woldenburg Park on the banks of the Mississippi River,” according to production notes.
The special has a script by Peter Barsocchini (High School Musical), and the score includes a variety of pop music, arranged by executive producer Adam Anders (Glee, Rock of Ages). The project is based on a European production created in the Netherlands by Jacco Doornbos of Eye2Eye Media that has been performed and broadcast annually since 2011. The American version is co-produced by dick clark productions, Eye2Eye Media and Anders Media Inc. No writers are credited. The adaptation is listed as having been overseen by two religious media companies, Christian public broadcaster Evangelische Omroep and Roman Catholic public broadcaster Rooms-Katholiek Kerkgenootschap.