Fox is set to air a live two-hour musical event about Jesus, “The Passion,” which will be hosted and narrated by Tyler Perry. The telecast will air on Palm Sunday 2016, March 20, and hail from New Orleans, Perry’s hometown.
“The Passion” tells the 2000-year-old story of the final hours of Jesus Christ’s life. Casting for the special will be announced in the future, though Fox promises involvement from “today’s biggest stars” — a group which will perform a variety of popular music, arranged by executive producer and music producer Adam Anders (“Glee”).
Set in modern day, “The Passion” will follow the dramatic and inspirational story of Jesus of Nazareth, as he presides over the Last Supper, and then (spoiler alert) is betrayed by Judas, put on trial by Pontius Pilate, convicted, crucified and resurrected.
The story will unfold live at several New Orleans’ locations, while featuring 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.
“‘The Passion’ is both wonderfully entertaining and genuinely inspirational,” said David Madden, president, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “We are so thrilled to have the multi-talented Tyler Perry join us for this epic music production. He is the perfect host to lead the cast — and viewers — through the streets of New Orleans in this contemporary re-telling of a timeless story.”
“This Palm Sunday television event is a modern-day production of the most famous story of all time, full of universal themes, which we hope provides a unifying experience, bringing the sacred and secular together,” said Mark Bracco, executive vice president of Programming and Development for Dick Clark Productions.
“‘The Passion’ is one of the most exciting and compelling projects that I have ever been involved with,” added Anders. “I cannot wait to bring the greatest-story-ever-told to life through music, in a way that has never been heard before. To be able to create new arrangements of some of the biggest songs of all time to create a live ‘film score’ is a creative dream for me.”
“We are excited that New Orleans has been chosen as the location for ‘The Passion,'” offered New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Year after year, our city continues to prove to be one of the best places for major motion pictures and world class productions. One of the reasons our economy continues to grow is due to our continued focus on creating opportunities for our cultural economy to thrive and this production announcement is another example of our success.”
“The Passion” is also executive produced by Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Bracco, Jacco Doornbos, David Grifhorst and Robert Deaton. Deaton is also considered showrunner.