Fox's Live Version of “The Passion” Transforms Streets of New Orleans

Tyler Perry Hosts Musical Performance With a Twist

“There's so much negativity on television, there's so much negativity on the airwaves. I don't know what's going to happen,” says Tyler Perry, “but my hope is this: I hope this starts a revival in Hollywood. I know the talents, they're followers. So I hope they say, 'Hey, let's do more things that people of faith, believers want to see! Let's do more stories that are uplifting! Let's tell more Bible stories! Let's tell more stories about Christ and the Disciples! Let's tell those stories!' We'll see what happens—but that's my hope.”

Tyler Perry is host and narrator of Fox Channel's live broadcast of “The Passion,” which will air Palm Sunday on the Fox Network. “The Passion” is a contemporary retelling of the Gospel narrative, depicting Jesus' suffering and death from the perspective of today. It features an all-star cast including Cuban-American singer/songwriter and actor Jencarlos Canela in the role of Jesus. Chris Daughtry stars as Judas, and Trisha Yearwood portrays Jesus' mother Mary. Prince Royce plays Peter, and British singer/songwriter Seal steps into the role of Pontius Pilate. Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith plays a disciple. And Nischelle Turner, entertainment correspondent for CNN and anchor/correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight,” in effect plays herself—as a reporter on the streets of New Orleans, doing man-on-the-street interviews during the live procession.

Three musical groups—a band from Los Angeles, a New Orleans jazz band and a choir of voices from local churches—will perform, and there will be an appearance by New Orleans' famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Unlike any other Passion portrayal seen to date, this version is set in the modern era. Were Jesus here on earth bodily now, how would he dress? “The Passion” offers one possible answer: The modern Jesus wears a beige sweater, topped by a beige trench coat. Later, as a prisoner of Herod, he emerges wearing an orange prison jumpsuit.

“The Passion” follows Jesus as he presides over the Last Supper, is betrayed by Judas, put on trial by Pontius Pilate, convicted, crucified and resurrected. A thousand volunteers will carry a 20-foot illuminated cross from the iconic Superdome stadium through the streets of the French Quarter, along Canal Street and Bourbon Street, to New Orleans' Woldenberg Park, on the bank of the Mississippi River. A crowd of up to 40,000 people will line the streets and fill the concert venue to watch “The Passion” live, and fans across America will watch the live telecast on Fox.

And when the concert ends, local Catholic and Protestant churches—including St. Louis Cathedral, just across the street from the concert venue—will open their doors for “after-Passion” events. People who may have heard about Jesus' death and Resurrection for the first time are invited to come in and learn more. Maps will be distributed, letting people know where they can find a church holding an “after-Passion” welcoming event.

The live two-hour program will run from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time (7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Central) on Fox, and is time-delayed in the Pacific Time Zone.