The Jesus musical TV spectacle “The Passion” is being performed for a second time in a German city. After Essen in 2022, it will be Kassel’s turn in 2024. The production was canceled in 2023. Now RTL is daring to take part in the big outdoor event again and wants to once again present a modern narrative of the central Christian Easter message - "in the spirit of solidarity and charity."
“The Passion - The Greatest Story of All Time” is intended to stage the last days of the life of Jesus Christ on a “spectacular” stage and transport them to the present day with pop songs. The Hessian city of Kassel, with around 200,000 inhabitants, has been known for hosting the documenta art exhibition for decades.
RTL kept the most important personality to itself on Monday: Who plays Jesus? Another name became known for this. Actor Hannes Jaenicke (63) will act as narrator - in 2022 it was entertainer Thomas Gottschalk. The exact time of the broadcast is not yet known.
Jesus disciples in the mall
Back in Essen, the singer, musical actor and former “Deutschland sucht den Superstar” winner Alexander Klaws slipped into the role of Jesus. He stood at a currywurst stand, his Jesus disciples and followers strolled through a shopping center, and the group took public transport. It was filmed from above as hundreds of people carried a huge illuminated cross across Essen. In individual episodes the narrator read out the central scenes of the story of suffering. At the end the resurrection was shown.
The new "Passion" narrator Jaenicke, who is also an environmental activist, was quoted in the RTL announcement as follows: "In times of increasing historical amnesia, lack of education and the fact that a strong gift culture seems to predominate at festivals such as Christmas and Easter , I think it's important to occasionally remember the foundations of our Christian-Jewish history." He thinks the idea of performing the passion story live and in a contemporary way is excellent.
Like so many entertainment formats, “The Passion” has been established in the Netherlands for a long time. According to RTL, the format has been one of the most successful live TV events there for over 13 years.
It is not known how much RTL Deutschland will spend financially on the spectacle. The program manager for RTL and RTL, Inga Leschek, said that “Passion” immediately attracted more than three million television viewers when it was first broadcast in Essen. There was a lot of discussion online about the format and direction. Leschek further announced: “We are looking forward to this extraordinary live music event at Easter 2024 under the sign of solidarity and charity.”