DVD Review: The Passion Live



The Passion Live attracted a huge TV crowd last Easter season as it mixed the Passion Play with modern pop songs. In a sense this was a way to update Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar. Songwriter Adam Anders put together the mix. He was behind many of the hits on Glee and the music on the movie version of Rock of Ages. Tyler Perry introduces the production and acts a narrator to tie the scenes and songs together. It’s appropriate since he’s from the New Orleans area. The performance was staged in front of a live audience in New Orleans which adds so much to the experience. This feels like an event with the crowd and the stars.

Jencarlos Canela (Telenovela) sings the role of Jesus and Chris Daughtry American Idol is his pal Judas. The duo play off well as Judas betrays Jesus. They duet on Imagine Dragons’ “Demons.” Country star Trisha Yearwood is Mary. Seal gets to torture as Pontius Pilate who belts out Tears For Fears’ “Mad World.” The song selection is interesting Jesus and Pilate duet on Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” which was the theme from Mad Max’s Beyond Thunderdome. This really does open up the hymnal selections. Not all the singing takes place on the main stage. There’s pre-taped segments of song recorded all around the Big Easy. It’s all modern so there’s nobody wearing a robe while riding a streetcar. Tyler Perry does the heavy lifting of reminding people that the pop songs are part of the Passion Play. This really feels like a church with a rock band. Your church might recreate the production this Easter. The DVD of The Passion Live will help you prepare for a role if you want to join your voice with the choir.

The videos is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks fine. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Digital. The mix brings out the songs and Perry’s narration. The special is subtitled.

No bonus features.

Shout! Factory presents The Passion Live. Starring: Jencarlos, Trisha Yearwood, Prince Royce, Chris Daughtry and Seal. Running Time: 77 minutes. Released: October 4, 2016.

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