On Palm Sunday, Fox will televise “The Passion,” a live 2-hour musical event hosted by Tyler Perry depicting Jesus Christ’s final hours against the backdrop of modern day New Orleans, the network announced on Tuesday.
The Passion is a modern-day retelling of Jesus’ final hours as he presides over the Last Supper, is ultimately betrayed by Judas, put on trial, convicted, and crucified. The television event, broadcast live from New Orleans, will reportedly incorporate a procession of hundreds of people carrying a 20-foot illuminated cross from Champion Square outside the Superdome to an elaborate stage built at Woldenburg Park near the Mississippi River, according to TheWrap.
The cast is set to be announced some time in the future, but the network said some of “today’s biggest stars” will be involved. Glee executive producer Adam Anders will executive produce and handle musical arrangements for the special.
“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,” Dick Clark Productions executive vice president of Programming and Development Mark Bracco said in a statement.
“The Passion is both wonderfully entertaining and genuinely inspirational,” added Fox Broadcasting Company president of Entertainment David Madden. “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.”
As Deadline notes, the special will look to capitalize on the recent TV trend of live musical specials, including NBC’s The Sound of Music and The Wiz, as well as popular Jesus-themed programming like NatGeo’s Killing Jesus and the History Channel’s The Bible.
Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, and Mark Bracco of Dick Clark Productions will executive produce The Passion alongside Eye2Eye Media’s Jacco Doornbos, Anders Media Inc’s Adam Anders and original Passion: Netherlands producer David Grifhorst. Robert Deaton (CMA Awards) will serve as showrunner. Dick Clark Productions is handling international distribution.
The Passion airs on March 20, 2016 from 8-10 pm on Fox.