The live TV musical trend takes a new direction this weekend as Fox marks Christians' Palm Sunday with The Passion, a two-hour retelling of the Easter story. This time, it takes place in New Orleans and stars Jencarlos Canela, a Cuban American singer and star of NBC's Telenovela, as Jesus.
What can we expect when it airs at 8 p.m.? Here's what we know so far:
1. Though the Lenten tradition of the Passion Play goes back many centuries, the format for Fox's version comes from the Netherlands, the country that also gave the world Big Brother.
Each year since 2011, the story of Jesus' death and resurrection has been reenacted three days before Easter in a different Dutch city, broadcast live, accompanied by pop-music performances. Jacco Doornbos developed the show after hearing that only 25 percent of the Dutch were "still aware of what the story of Easter was about." According to Doornbos, it's become the largest live TV event of the year.
2. Adam Anders, who was executive music producer for Fox's Glee, is an executive producer of the U.S. Passion.
3. The Fox connection doesn't end there: Chris Daughtry, the rocker who'll be playing Judas Iscariot, placed fourth in the fifth season of American Idol. (Other stars include Seal as Pontius Pilate and Trisha Yearwood as Mary, the mother of Jesus.)
4. Action will take place at several New Orleans landmarks, with narrator (and Big Easy native) Tyler Perry on the main stage at Woldenberg Park along the Mississippi.
5. Hundreds of people are expected to help carry a 20-foot-high illuminated cross from the Superdome to the park over the course of the show.
6. Not every street in New Orleans will be shut down, so the procession may at times be stopped by traffic, or even a passing fire truck. In which case Perry's plan, he told reporters in January, is to say, "Jesus, call an ambulance."
7. The music isn't new. "We are using big hit songs that everybody knows, and we are putting them completely in a new context," said Anders, suggesting viewers might not immediately recognize them.
"It's incredible, when we start looking through the U.S. pop catalog, how many spiritual undertones there are, because most artists have a spirituality to them, and the songs are written from those moments in their lives," he said.
8. Jesus wears orange. Like the music, the wardrobe and setting are modern, so, according to another executive producer, Mark Bracco, "after Judas betrays Jesus and Jesus is arrested, it's cop cars pulling up and the police arresting Jesus. And when Jesus is brought on stage for his trial, he's in an orange jumpsuit as if he's been in jail."
9. Yearwood won't be singing country standards. She's expected to perform, among other things, the Whitney Houston song "Your Love is My Love."
10. If it rains (as it did for Grease: Live in Southern California), well, "that's why God created umbrellas, right?" said Anders, who told reporters he saw the Dutch version for the first time in the rain.
"The first four years, we had very nice weather, no drop of rain, and then, suddenly, the fifth year, it was stormy," said Doornbos. "It turned out to be great, even more emotional when it rains."