Roles of Jesus Christ, Judas Cast in Tyler Perry's 'The Passion Live'

Tyler Perry speaks on stage during the 45th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California February 22, 2014.
Tyler Perry speaks on stage during the 45th NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California February 22, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Danny Moloshok)

The actors who will portray Jesus Christ and Judas in the upcoming live production of Fox's "The Passion" on Palm Sunday have officially been announced.

The role of Jesus will be played by singer-songwriter Jencarlos Canela, a theater actor who debuted in the 2008 musical "Miami Libre" and currently stars on the NBC primetime show, "Telenovela." Judas, the man who betrays Jesus, will be portrayed by singer and actor Chris Daughtry, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

While he has appeared on "CSI: NY," the soon-to-be Judas is probably best known from season five of "American Idol" where he placed fourth overall. The script, written by Peter Barsocchini ("High School Musical,") will take audiences on a journey 2,000 years ago to the last hours when Jesus Christ walked the Earth.

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The musical will air on Palm Sunday, which executives close to the production hope can bring both Christian and secular audiences together before Easter.

"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," said Mark Bracco, executive vice president of programming and development for Dick Clark Productions.

Adam Anders, the music producer who has worked on "Glee" and "Rock of Ages," revealed that audiences will witness the story of Jesus being told like never before.

"'The Passion' is one of the most exciting and compelling projects that I have ever been involved with," said Anders in a statement to The Christian Post. "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."

Aside from Canela and Daughtry, Trisha Yearwood, the singer and host of Food Network's "Trisha's Southern Kitchen" joined the cast last month as Mary, the mother of Jesus.

"I'm thrilled to join #ThePassionLive airing LIVE March 20 on @FOXTV xo trish," the Grammy Award-winning "How Do I Live" singer tweeted.

The "Corazón Sin Cara" singer Prince Royce also echoed Yearwood's sentiments, after joining the cast as the disciple Peter.

"I'm happy to be joining #ThePassionLive as Peter airing LIVE March 20 on @FOXTV," he tweeted to over 5 million fans.

Film mogul Tyler Perry will narrate and host the two-hour musical that will take place in Perry's hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, and bring a modern-day account of the story of Jesus of Nazareth to life. A number of iconic locations throughout New Orleans will be utilized in the live musical event that is also expected to include a local New Orleans audience in the carrying of a 20-foot cross.

Famed biblical events like the Last Supper, Jesus' betrayal at the hands of Judas, his trial by Pontius Pilate, the crucifixion and resurrection will be included in what the president of Fox said will be an inspirational play.

"'The Passion' is both wonderfully entertaining and genuinely inspirational," said David Madden, president of entertainment for the Fox Broadcasting Company, in a statement shared with The Christian Post. "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."

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