The Passion, Fox’s Biblical live musical, has found its Jesus Christ, casting singer/actor Jencarlos Canela (Telenovela) in the lead role. Additionally, rocker Chris Daughtry has been cast as the disciple Judas. The two join host and narrator Tyler Perry and cast members Prince Royce (the disciple Peter) and Trisha Yearwood (Mary, the mother of Jesus). The special will air live from New Orleans on Palm Sunday, March 20.
Written by Peter Barsocchini (High School Musical), The Passion tells the story of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life on earth through passages from the Bible and a variety of popular music, sung by the cast, and arranged specifically for the live special by executive producer and hit music producer Adam Anders (Glee). Set in modern day, The Passion follows Jesus (Canela) as he presides over the Last Supper, and then is betrayed by Judas (Daughtry), put on trial by Pontius Pilate, convicted, crucified and resurrected.
The special will be staged live at signature New Orleans locations, with a procession of hundreds of people carrying a 20-foot, illuminated cross from outside the Superdome to the live stage at Woldenburg Park on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Born and raised in Miami, Telenovela co-star Jencarlos Canela has collaborated with the likes of Emilio Estefan, Rudy Perez and Pitbull. His 2009 debut album, Buscame, entered the Latin album charts at No. 1 and was certified Gold within weeks of its release. He is currently working on his English album debut for Republic Records.
Canela’s acting credits include soap opera Pecados Ajenos. One could say that he was born to play Jesus Christ being given a name with initials JC.
This marks Chris Daughtry’s return to Fox where he rose to fame as a finalist on American Idol. His eponymously named band has sold more than eight million albums and 16 million singles worldwide with the band getting four American Music Awards and four Grammy noms. As an actor, Daughtry has appeared in CSI: NY, Riggle’s Picks and Funny or Die skits.
The Passion, based on a format originally created in the Netherlands by Eye2Eye Media’s Jacco Doornbos, is produced by dick clark productions. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco, Doornbos, Adam Anders and David Grifhorst executive produce. Robert Deaton (CMA Awards) serves as executive producer and showrunner.
Canela is repped by DePaz Management and UTA.