Like a sinner, wandering through the cruel wilderness of the world—or a Tyler Perry character, two-thirds of the way into their standard redemptive arc—playwright, director, and armchair theologian Tyler Perry has finally found Jesus. Specifically, he’s found Telenovela star Jencarlos Canela, who’ll be playing the popular crucifixion spokesmodel in Perry’s upcoming live staging of the Dutch musical The Passion for Fox. Canela will play Christ in a modern take on the final days of his life, as Perry finally lets the rest of us in on the trademarked notion of What Would Jesus Do. (Sing some songs while looking sexy, probably.)
But in much the same way that you can’t have a Betty without a Veronica, or a devout, faithful black woman without a no-good man who done her wrong, you can’t have a Jesus without a Judas. And so American Idol star Chris Daughtry—still struggling to raise himself to the one-name echelon inhabited by Madonna, Bono, or Cher—has been cast as the well-known silver recipient. He’s joined by an already-cast Trisha Yearwood and Prince Royce, along with Perry, finally setting aside the usual mouthpieces to directly narrate the will of God.
The live musical—complete with a glowing, 20-foot-tall cross—is being staged in New Orleans on March 20, a.k.a. Palm Sunday in the Christian calendar.