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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

"Jesus" - the Stage Play - Coming to TV This Week

A planned theatrical release was scrapped in the wake of the coronavirus, but that may well pave the way for an even bigger audience.

The Nativity scene from the stage production "Jesus." Image: Sight & Sound Theatres.

A stage production already seen by more than one million theatergoers, Jesus was to be a three-day Fathom Event, starting today and leading up to Easter. With no U.S. movie theaters currently operational, however, that plan fell apart.

Cue the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which is stepping in to save the day. TBN will air a recorded version of the extravaganza - and that's what this performance is - twice on Saturday and also make it available for streaming via its app.

A scene from "Jesus." Image: Sights & Sound Theatres.

This is the fourth Biblical stage production from Sight & Sound Theatres - a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Christian company - that is taking the path from stage to screen; the others being Jonah in 2017, Moses in 2018 and Noah in 2019.

The production of Jesus follows the life of the Savior from birth through his resurrection on Easter Sunday and was filmed in front of a live theater audience. The sets, props and costumes are lavish and the scale epic. That's not hyperbole either - we're not talking some tiny, antiquated Broadway theater here - because it's played out on a state-of-the-art 300-foot wrap-around stage with sets as high as four-stories tall. These productions are a phenomenon, which, in part, helps explain the success of the play.

But beyond the wow-factor, in this virus-induced climate of separation currently gripping America - social distancing, stay-at-home orders, et cetera - the theater company's chief creative officer, Josh Enck, believes it may also serve to re-establish community through the salvation story of Christ.

"With people not being able to gather together to celebrate Easter, our hope is that by making this show available, we might all feel a sense of community and connection as we watch the greatest rescue story of all time come to life in this unique way."

TBN will air the show twice this Saturday, April 11th: first at 1:00 PM EDT/10:00 AM PDT and then overnight at 1:00 AM EDT/10:00 PM PDT. For those of you who prefer to stream it, you'll be able do so via the TBN app at any time from Friday, April 10th through Sunday April 12th. Until then, you can whet your appetite by watching the trailer below.

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