Television musicals are starting to be the thing, now that The Wiz Live! did so well. And I'm not talking about any ol' musical, but productions reimagined with African-American images.
According to Shadow and Act, Fox is teaming up with Tyler Perry to bring Jesus Christ's last days on Earth to television in the form of a musical. It's being called The Passion and will air next March. Perry will host and narrate the two-hour event, which will take place in modern-day New Orleans.
“The Passion is both wonderfully entertaining and genuinely inspirational,” David Madden, president of entertainment at Fox, said. “We are so thrilled to have the multitalented 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 retelling of a timeless story.”
This ought to be good and controversial. It is Jesus Christ we’re talking about—a very important religious figure for a majority of Americans. A majority of Americans who no doubt still believe that Jesus looks like the blond-hair, blue-eyed figure that's plastered on church walls and crosses. If this musical tries to get that part of the story closer to how experts say Jesus really looked (descriptions based on the men who lived in that region during that time and who were from Jesus' ethnic group), the brown-skinned, kinky-haired man they cast to play Jesus will likely ruffle a few feathers.
The musicial will air March 20, the same day as Palm Sunday, and "will follow the story of Jesus of Nazareth as he presides over the Last Supper, is betrayed by Judas, put on trial by Pontius Pilate, convicted, crucified and resurrected," Shadow and Act explains.
With Perry's involvement and New Orleans serving as a backdrop, this should be one for the history books.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.