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Tyler Perry to Bring 'The Passion' of Jesus Christ to Life in Star-Studded Palm Sunday Musical

( [email protected] ) Dec 18, 2015 12:06 PM EST
To celebrate the upcoming Easter holiday, entertainment mogul Tyler Perry will host and narrate a Biblically-inspired musical event about Jesus Christ's final moments on earth titled "The Passion."
Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry is known for weaving elements of his Christian faith into his movies and television shows. ROB LATOUR/REX SHUTTERSTOCK

To celebrate the upcoming Easter holiday, entertainment mogul Tyler Perry will host and narrate a Biblically-inspired musical event about Jesus Christ's final moments on earth titled "The Passion."

The event, which will air live on Fox on Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016, will be narrated by the 46-year-old Perry and will include a star-studded cast performing popular music arranged by "Glee" music producer Adam Anders, according to a report from Variety.

Set in modern day New Orleans - Perry's hometown - "The Passion" will follow the New Testament account of Jesus Christ, as He presides over the Last Supper, and then is betrayed by Judas, put on trial by Pontius Pilate, convicted, crucified and resurrected.

Filmed in some of New Orleans' most recognizable and iconic locations, the upcoming event will also feature 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, Deadline notes.

"'The Passion' is both wonderfully entertaining and genuinely inspirational," David Madden, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company, said in a statement. "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."

Mark Bracco, EVP of Programming and Development for Dick Clark Productions added, "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."

The highly-anticipated production is a format created in the Netherlands by Eye2Eye Media's Jacco Doornbos, according to The Wrap. The Dutch version of "The Passion" has been produced annually since 2011 and has aired for the last five consecutive years. NOLA.com reports that "The Passion" will cost an estimated $11.2 million to produce. Of that, $9.4 million will be spent in Louisiana, with $1.8 million going toward in-state payroll for 768 temporary jobs. 

"We are excited that New Orleans has been chosen as the location for 'The Passion,'" said 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."

In a Facebook post, Perry, who frequently includes elements of his Christian faith into his TV and movie projects, also thanked fans for continuing to support and pray for him as he brings live entertainment to cities around America.

"GOD THANK YOU FOR MY AUDIENCE!!!" he wrote. "It's been 23 years that I've been doing these live plays. That's half my life, and you guys are still packing these theaters all over the country. Thank you so much for all this love and support. My prayer for you is that everything that you have sown into my life, my family, and my business comes back to you 100 times over. Thanks for all the loyal love and support and your prayers. God bless you."