Concert Version of Kristina to Receive U.K. Premiere with Sjöholm, Watson, Pitre and Odekirk

News   Concert Version of Kristina to Receive U.K. Premiere with Sjöholm, Watson, Pitre and Odekirk
 
A concert version of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus's Swedish musical Kristina will receive its U.K. premiere at London's Royal Albert Hall for one night only on April 14.
Helen Sj
Helen Sj

It follows the show's concert debut at New York's Carnegie Hall last September, from which a double CD is due to be released in April, to be entitled "Kristina at the Carnegie Hall."

As at Carnegie Hall, the concert will be directed by Lars Rudolfsson and feature the same principals: the original Swedish Kristina Helen Sjöholm will re-create the title role, along with Russell Watson, Louise Pitre and Kevin Odekirk. They will be part of a 30-strong company, accompanied by a 50-piece symphony orchestra, consisting of musicians hand-picked by Isobel Griffiths and joined by the choir who performed at Carnegie Hall, all conducted by Paul Gemignani.

According to press materials, Kristina tells the story of one woman and her family’s struggle in Sweden and their subsequent emigration to America in search of a better life. Originally produced in Sweden, with music by Benny Andersson and lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus (the songwriting team behind Abba Mamma Mia!, who also wrote the musical Chess), English lyrics have been newly written for the concvert version by Ulvaeus and Herbert Kretzmer, the latter of whom also wrote the English lyrics for Les Misérables.

Sjöholm's credits in her native Sweden include Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, Fantine in Les Misérables, starring in Chess, playing Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera and Eliza in My Fair Lady, as well as creating the role of Kristina in the original musical production of Kristina från Duvemåla in 1995. She is a lead vocalist in the Benny Andersson Band and sang last year’s single, "Story of a Heart."

Watson, who plays Karl Oskar, was the first ever British male to simultaneously occupy a No. 1 spot in the UK and American classical charts, as well as being the first artist to have a classical album at the No. 1 spot in the UK classical charts for an entire year. Having released nine albums to date and sold over six million records worldwide, he has won four classical BRIT Awards. Pitre, who plays Ulrika, created the role of Donna Sheridan in the Toronto production of Mamma Mia!, and went on to make her Broadway debut and earn a Tony Award nomination for the same role when the musical first opened on Broadway in 2001. Other leading musical roles include Fantine in Les Misérables and the title role in Piaf.

Odekirk made his Broadway debut as Marius in Les Misérables, and has gone on to perform with people such as Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury and Julie Andrews.

Tickets, priced £17.50 to £75, go on sale Jan. 22 by calling the box office at 0845 401 5045, or by visiting www.kristinathemusical.com.

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