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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: March 18, 2016.

In the midst of political and military conflict around the world, the Easter Season is a hopeful time to experience and celebrate renewal, revival, and redemption. There are live and filmed productions, especially about the passion and resurrection of our Lord, across the country and world to help us do just that. Many towns, cities, and regions are hosting local live passion productions. For example, on March 17, Visit reports on a local Stockton production with its story line of a Roman Centurion’s view of Jesus Christ, which culminates in the dramatic and joyful resurrection of Christ.  CBN News also reports on Tyler Perry’s Passion Live, a live musical production of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Tyler Perry and Fox have teamed up to bring Passion Live, a live musical production, to TV on Palm Sunday in New Orleans. Its creators hope Passion Live will have the same ratings as the Sound of Music, when more than 20 million people tuned in. Jencarlos Canela, who plays the lead role, has spoken with CBN about bringing the final hours of Christ’s journey on Earth to life for the performance. “It is one of the biggest honors I have ever been given,” Canela has said.

In this image released by Fox, Chris Daughtry portays Judas, left, and Jencarlos Canela portrays Jesus in "The Passion," a two-hour musical airing live from New Orleans, on Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. (Michael Becker/FOX via AP)

Chris Daughtry portays Judas, left, and Jencarlos Canela portrays Jesus in “The Passion Live” : Photo courtesy Fox.

In modernizing the Crucifixion Story, Passion Live is a musical set in the streets of present day New Orleans.  “We are staying true to the biblical sense of it and the scriptures. That is intact. That is not being changed. No one is writing words in Jesus’ mouth. That is not going to happen,” Canela has said. “…I feel that it is going to appeal to an even bigger audience that needs to hear that story about love and acceptance and forgiveness,” he has explained.

Trisha Yearwood plays the mother of Jesus. Tyler Perry, who is from New Orleans, is the narrator for the two-hour Fox television special. The production also includes performances from gospel artist Yolanda Adams and American Idol alum Chris Daughtry. There are multiple moving parts: a stage, big screens, and people carrying a 20-foot, illuminated cross from the super dome to the banks of the Mississippi.

The massive scale of the Passion Live production is part of what attracted Michael W. Smith to the project. He plays one of Jesus’ disciples. “I think it is unique. I think it is a wild and wonderful idea that has worked in Holland and why would it not work here….” This production is new to American television but it has already become a tradition in the Netherlands. Samples of this spectacular production in The Netherlands can be viewed on YouTube. 

Sight & Sound Theatres® have debuted this month two huge Biblical dramas onstage with its $5 million epic production of Samson in Lancaster County, Pa., and, in Branson, Mo., with its spectacular production of Moses. In cinemas, Fathom Events brings the classic Ten Commandments to the big screen on March 20 and 23.  

The Passion live singing

Jencarlos Canela plays Jesus in The Passion, a two-hour musical event airing live from New Orleans on March 20, 2016 on Fox : Photo courtesy Fox.

Out in theaters now are three outstanding movies that are appropriate for the Easter Season. The first is Risen, in which the acting, cinematography, music, as well as comic relief, are outstanding! This is a not-to-be missed movie in theaters, especially for the Easter Season. This movie is appropriate for younger teens through adults.

Secondly, The Young Messiah is now in theaters and is at the top of the box office as Risen has been. The Young Messiah is an imagined story of young Jesus Christ. It is based on The Bible, as well as histories and stories of the time. The acting and storytelling are excellent. The music and cinematography are engaging. This movie is suitable and inspiring for older children through adults. 

Miracles From Heaven is also now in theaters and is inspiring for the Easter Season. It is appropriate for older children through adults. It is based on a true story and the best-selling book about the actual events by Christy Beam, who is the mother of young Annabel Beam. Annabel (Anna) suffered for four years the debilitating, painful, shut-down of her digestive system and miraculously recovered, totally healed after an accident. Jennifer Garner captivates in the role of Christy Beam. Queen Latifah delights in her comic relief. Risen, The Young Messiah, and Miracles From Heaven are all movies of the highest caliber. They each have outstanding, entertaining, and inspiring performances and stories. They are all not-to-missed movies.

Fortunately, the spirit of the Easter Season will continue into months ahead especially with further not-to-be missed movies in theaters. God’s Not Dead 2, is another outstanding not-to-be-missed movie coming to theater April 1. Trailers for this movie have been released and can be viewed on IMDB. This movie is a sequel to the 2014 hit. It features Melissa Joan Hart and Jesse Metcalfe in a compelling movie inspired by true events that are listed at the end of the movie.

The Passion Live 4

Passion Live is a musical set in the streets of present day New Orleans : Photo courtesy Fox.

In God’s Not Dead 2, Grace Wesley, who is a history teacher played effectively by Melissa Joan Hart, answers a student’s question about Jesus Christ in the context of a discussion on non-violent resistance and refers to the Bible in her answer. Consequently, she is fired, has her teacher’s certification revoked, and ultimately ends up in a court case. Riveting performances are given by the following and more: Ernie Hudson, Hayley Orrantia, David A.R. White, Sadie Robertson, Robin Givens, Maria Canals-Barrera, the late Fred Thompson, and Pat Boone.

Sadie Robertson also appears in the upcoming, inspiring movie I’m Not Ashamed which is drawn straight from Columbine victim Rachel Joy Scott’s words and journal entries, through the insight of her mother, Beth Nimmo. It is the true story of a high school student whose compassionate, caring faith caused her to reach out to fellow students, which included her killers. Further, the first trailer for the new Ben Hur movie has been released for its debut in theaters in August.

Watch Sonoma Christian Home’s stories and exclusive interviews with writers, directors, producers, as well as actors for all of these movies and more like them. Catch up with what has already been published on Sonoma Christian Home and stay tuned for what is coming. Happy Easter!     

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