Relaymedia

Michael W. Smith, Yolanda Adams To Appear in Tyler Perry's Palm Sunday Special, 'The Passion'

( [email protected] ) Feb 15, 2016 01:44 PM EST
Grammy Award-winning CCM artists Yolanda Adams and Michael W. Smith are joining Tyler Perry's Palm Sunday live performance of "The Passion," which brings to life the final hours of Jesus Christ's life on earth.
Michael W. Smith will star as one of Jesus Christ's disciples in "The Passion". Getty Images

Grammy Award-winning CCM artists Yolanda Adams and Michael W. Smith are joining Tyler Perry's Palm Sunday live performance of "The Passion," which brings to life the final hours of Jesus Christ's life on earth.

According to a press release made available to The Gospel Herald, Adams will kick off the two-hour musical event with a special live performance, while Smith will fill the role of one of Jesus' disciples.

Last week, Adams, who has sold millions of records worldwide, took to Twitter to express her excitement: "So excited to be performing in @FOXTV's #ThePassionLive on March 20th!!"

Smith also shared a photo of himself with "Glee" music producer Adam Anders and included the caption, "I am thrilled to join the cast of @ThePassionLive in New Orleans as one of Jesus' disciples!"

Michael W. Smith pictured with
Michael W. Smith pictured with "Glee" music producer Adam Anders

The two CCM greats join host and narrator Tyler Perry, and cast members Jencarlos Canela (Jesus Christ), Chris Daughtry (Judas), Prince Royce (the disciple Peter), Seal (Pontius Pilate) and Trisha Yearwood (Mary, the mother of Jesus).

The event, which will air live on Fox on Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016, will include popular music arranged by Anders and is written by Peter Barsocchini (High School Musical), 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 one of the most exciting and compelling projects that I have ever been involved with," said 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 and to create a live film score is a creative dream for me."

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."