In the wake of the terror attack in New York City, in which an ISIS devotee driving a rented truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on the street, killing 8 people before crashing into a school bus and injuring two other adults and two children.Called the “deadliest terror attack since 9/11,” the tragedy triggers emotional reactions that can run high and disrupt your life and relationships. These are escalated now, since “new” weapons of terrorists are common items like knives and vehicles rather than guns or suicide vests, and new targets are “soft” – meaning normal people in daily activities -- rather than high profile American symbols like the Twin Towers or the Capital.Judy Kuriansky, is the Executive Producer of the upcoming world premiere musical Temple of the Souls at the New York Musical Festival (NYMF), a love story that deals with the theme of cultural persecution – when the Taíno natives in the 1600s were victimized by the conquering Spaniards and leapt to their deaths off El Yunque rainforest cliffs rather than be enslaved, much like the Jewish people who jumped to their deaths from the Masada plateau rather than be massacred by the Romans in 35 BC. Judy, given that she has produced multiple events at the UN, including the “World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development” and “Interfaith Harmony Week,” has written two books on the Middle East crisis, including “Terror in the Holy Land” and “Beyond Bullets and Bombs,” and done symposia and concerts for peace through her “Stand Up for Peace Project” and “Global Kids Connect Project.”Interestingly, Temple of the Souls is created by sisters Anika Paris and Lorca Peress, who are half Jewish.On their Polish side, members of their family lost their lives in the Holocaust, and on their Puerto Rican side, they were victims of the Taíno struggle.
Indeed, as teens who watched the NYC terrorist from their Stuyvesant High School windows said, “We’ve lost our innocence.” Officials wisely advise “Be vigilant” simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The two longtime friends are connected in many ways to the play and its themes: Friendship and Family. Judy have been fast friends since 1982 when they were both reporters at WCBS-TV in New York, with ongoing illustrious media careers and interests and expertise in relationships.
From their days at Channel 2 News together, Jane Velez-Mitchell went on to host many shows including on HLN-TV, “Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell” having previously worked as a fill-in host for Nancy Grace.
Her theatre interests date back to 3rd grade when she was given the role of Queen in her 3rd grade play.
The background collaboration story of Temple of the Souls is rooted in a family history of the writers: Jane is the daughter of story creator Anita Velez-Mitchell and the aunt co-book writers of sisters Lorca Peress and Anika Paris.