The production's creative choices won't make people who prefer traditional Passion performances feel disrespected, according to Canela.
"You can literally follow the story with a Bible in your hand. Word for Word," he said.
The show's website links to Bible resources from the American Bible Society, as well as discussion guides and a family devotional.
At the same time, the event portrays the Passion using contemporary costumes and music.
"A 2,000-year-old story with songs of our time. It's genius," Canela said. "We have songs we've heard 100,000 times, but never within this context."
The musical adapts songs like Celine Dion's "Love Can Move Mountains," Creed's "Arms Wide Open," Katy Perry's "Unconditionally," Train's "Calling All Angels" and Imagine Dragons' "Demons."
"Now you're hearing your favorite songs, telling a story. Whether you've been exposed to it or not, you've never been exposed to it in this way," the lead reflected. "I think, it's a beautiful way to really get to people's hearts and minds with the Word of God."
Canela credited Immaculate Conception School in Hialeah, Florida with starting his singing career – and helping him overcome his stage fright. When he was about 10 years old, his teacher chose him to sing "Amazing Grace" at the parish church. Just before he was to perform, he hid in the bathroom instead.
Now it is different for Canela.
"God has given me the gift to travel the world with my music singing on stage in front of huge audiences," he said. "I started becoming a young man in that church. I was exposed to the essence of this wonderful story that we're telling on Sunday. It definitely had a huge part in the man I am today."