“The Passion,” FOX’s live musical production that aired March 20, inspired and awed viewers through a creative and modern recount of Jesus Christ’s last days and crucifixion.
The musical utilized areas in New Orleans, La., as the backdrop to narrate the story. Tyler Perry, creator of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s TV show “Love Thy Neighbor” and best known for his role as Madea, hosted this touching event from a stage. With a live audience, choir, musicians and a jumbotron that cut to the cast, he introduced and described each upcoming scene.
Home viewers and audience members witnessed Jesus (Jencarlos Canela) telling his disciples about his upcoming crucifixion, his last meal with his followers, his capture, Peter’s (Prince Royce) denial, Judas’ betrayal (Chris Daughtry), Pontius Pilate’s (Seal) decisive moment to punish Jesus and, of course, Jesus’ crucifixion. The famous ballads Jesus’ mother Mary (Trisha Yearwood) sang journeyed viewers through her emotions. Yearwood did not have any dialogue.
One interesting element about this production was the setting. Duncan Park, the French Quarter, Jackson Square, Woldenberg Park, a neighborhood, a bakery, a graveyard and a food truck are most of the areas where Jesus’ story was retold. Within each of these locations, the cast sung songs and acted out pivotal points from the Bible. Because of the setting, the musical delivered on the modern aspect. Viewers experienced New Orleans from their living rooms.
The entire cast crooned 21st century songs heard on the radio, another unique component. They covered tunes from artists such as Katy Perry, Phillip Phillips, Evanescence and Train. They even included some oldies from Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Ray Charles. Yolanda Adams, a gospel singer, also performed a New Orleans-style version of Louis Armstrong’s “When the Saints Go Marching In” with the New Orleans Brass Band. The music in the production was interesting, entertaining and truly revealed each character’s personalities and emotions about Jesus’ crucifixion.
The significance and height of “The Passion” was the lit cross citizens carried throughout New Orleans to the main stage where Perry, the audience and the musicians waited. It represented Jesus’ crucifixion and the end of the musical. It was there, with the crowd around her, that Yearwood sang “Broken” by Lifehouse, as her hand touched the cross. Through this song, she was able to express Mary’s devastation about the loss of her son and the hope of his awakening on the third day.
As people carried the cross, entertainment correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight” Nischelle Turner spoke to New Orleans citizens about what they believed carrying the cross meant. One woman said it meant justice for the loss of her own son. She explained that she would have faith that God would give her justice for his murder. A man mentioned that his mother’s faith inspired him to come out .
“The Passion” was an unforgettable production that left the viewer with hope for unconditional love.