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Baruch Performing Arts Center, NYC, opened April 2019

Albania was the only country in Europe with more Jews at the end of World War II than at the beginning. Albanians across the Balkans took in people with whom they did not share language, religion, or culture, sheltered them as honored guests, and defended them with their lives.

Peace, understanding, mutual respect and even love are possible.

What they said

"I was blown away by Refuge last night.  The combination of the story, staging, acting, singing and over-all structure of the play was incredibly powerful and it was heart breaking to hear that this run ends on May 11th." – Rick Smolan, NYT best-selling author and National Geographic photographer

 "The story of Refuge is beautifully told in that specific, ensemble-based, devised physical theater style that is characteristic of Blessed Unrest. As always, they continue to bring an innovative and unique flavor to the theater world. I’m so glad they, along with Teatri ODA, are able to bring this story to the forefront. Let’s hope these types of stories continue to be told, if only to encourage hope for humanity." – Tami Shaloum, Round the World Stage

“The human drama of the Jewish family uncertain of the motives and continuity of their host family's commitment to their safety, and the Albanians' cheerful acceptance of their new burden is both compelling and inspiring… In the current Trumpian climate of fear and loathing directed towards refugees, this work of international cooperation is especially needed and welcome.” – Mark Savitt, Hi Drama

Refuge did extraordinarily well on Show-Score. Listen to the audience feedback here. Some highlights:

“This play has everything- singing, dancing, intelligent believable dialogue and incredibly creative staging with a multi-cultural cast who are truly incredibly talented and authentic… I laughed, I cried, I loved it! See it!!!”

“Relevant, Must see, Great acting, Exquisite, Entertaining. See it if you like shows that portray a beautiful and moving story in a unique way. Everything from the staging to the acting was impeccable!”

“Emotional, Powerful, Beautiful, Resonant, Absorbing.”

“See it if you want to experience a deeply affecting tale of inexplicable generosity in the bleakest of times—& the music is pretty great too.”

“Dizzying, Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious.”

“Masterful, Intelligent, Great staging, Ambitious, Absorbing. Great ensemble work, creative direction.”

Production CREDITS

Written by

Florent Mehmeti and Matt Opatrny

Directed by

Jessica Burr and Florent Mehmeti


Oda Eshref Durmishi, Daniela Markaj, Nancy McArthur, Becca Schneider, Ilire Vinca, Perri Yaniv

Music by Metropolitan Klezmer, featuring Ismail Butera, Debra Kreisberg, Eve Sicular

Production Stage Manager

Darielle Shandler

Set Design

Teddy Jefferson & Sonya Plenefisch

Costume Design

Sera Bourgeau

Lighting Design

Jay Ryan

Sound Design

Adrian Bridges

Assistant Director

Ben Peterson


Julia Levine

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