VATICAN CITY, June 10 (UPI) -- "Mary of Nazareth," a new stage musical about the mother of Jesus Christ, is to premiere later this month, the Vatican said Tuesday.
The Italian news agency ANSA said the musical is the first show of its kind to earn a pope's endorsement.
After its debut at the Vatican's Sala Nervi June 17, the show is likely to tour Europe, Latin America and some Middle Eastern countries, the Vatican said.
"'We have sponsored this work with pleasure because Mary of Nazareth is the woman who has communicated and still communicates to mankind today the word of God made man," ANSA quoted Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, president of the pontifical council for social communication, as saying.
Alma Manera, a young Italian soprano who has performed at the Rome Opera House, is to sing the lead role. The former Miss Italia contestant also is the daughter of the musical's director, Maria Pia Liotta, ANSA said.