Andersson and Ulvaeus' 'KRISTINA' to Premiere at Carnegie Hall in Concert, 9/23 and 9/24
The American debut of Benny Andersson and Bjorn Alvaeus new musical KRISTINA, will debut next week on September 23rd and 24th at Carnegie Hall in concert. Andersson and Alvaeus of the group ABBA are the masterminds behind the blockbuster musicals MAMMA MIA! and CHESS.
KRISTINA is based on a series of four novels by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg, detailing a family's poverty-driven migration from Sweden to America in the mid-19th century: The Emigrants, Unto a Good Land, The Settlers, and The Last Letter Home. This will be the first presentation of the piece in the United States.
Tony Award® nominee Louise Pitre returns to the New York stage after originating the role of "Donna Sheridan" in the composing team's global smash hit musical MAMMA MIA! on Broadway.
Kevin Odekirk originated the role of "Robert" in the New York workshop presentation of KRISTINA after making his Broadway debut in Les Misérables.
Previously announced stars Helen Sjöholm, who originated the title role in the Swedish production of KRISTINA, and internationally renowned tenor Russell Watson, lead a 27 member cast featuring Derin Altay, Chris Bohannon, Jane Brockman, Walter Charles, Rebecca Eichenberger, Osborn Focht, Blythe Gruda, Liz Griffith, Joy Hermlyn, David Hess, Michael James Leslie, T. Doyle Leverett, Rob Lorey, Frank Mastrone, Raymond Jaramillo McLeod, Linda Mugleston, Jan Neuberger, Robert Ousley, Sal Sabella, Greg Stone, Jessica Vosk and Kathy Voytko.
Directed by Lars Rudolfsson and featuring the 50 piece American Theatre Orchestra conducted by Tony Award® winner Paul Gemignani, KRISTINA will be performed in concert for two performances only at Carnegie Hall on September 23 and 24, 2009. This will mark the first presentation in English with lyrics by Björn Ulvaeus and Herbert Kretzmer.
Originally titled Kristina från Duvemåla, the musical premiered at the Malmo Music Theatre in Sweden in 1995 to great acclaim from critics and audiences alike. The musical ran for almost four years, winning four Guldmasken Theatre Awards (Sweden's Tony!) and was seen by more people than any other musical in Swedish history.
In 1996, a concert version of KRISTINA was performed (in Swedish) at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Minnesota; a part of the country where many of the events in the Moberg novels took place. The Minneapolis Star Tribune called the concert "engaging, emotionally charged and haunting."
Based on The Emigrants series of novels by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg (The Emigrants, Unto a Good Land, The Settlers, and The Last Letter Home), KRISTINA tells the epic story of an extended family's migration from Sweden to America in the mid-19th Century.
Universal Music is proud to promote the concert alongside Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. A cast recording will follow, released through Universal Music's Decca Records.
Best known as the song-writing partners of ABBA, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus are also the composers of the stage musicals Chess and Mamma Mia!
Louise Pitre (Ulrika) made her Broadway debut and earned a Tony Award® nomination for her role as "Donna Sheridan" in Mamma Mia! when the hit musical opened at the Winter Garden Theatre in 2001, where she starred for two years. A Toronto audience favorite, she has starred as "Fantine" in Les Misérables, as the title role in Edith Piaf and in Annie Get Your Gun, Song and Dance, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris; I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change; The World Goes 'Round; Blood Brothers; Tartuffe; Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?; The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd; Applause and Rock 'n' Roll. She is the winner of three Dora Mavor Moore Awards, the National Broadway Touring Award, a New York Theatre World Award, a San Francisco Critics' Circle Award and a Bessie Award all for best performance by a leading lady in a musical. She can be seen this fall as the host of CTV's new series "Star Portraits" beginning September 12 on Bravo!. Other television: Lifetime's "A Christmas Wedding," "Recipe for a Perfect Christmas," CBC's "MVP," and as Celine Dion's mother "Therese" in the CBC biopic "Celine". Louise is the recipient of honorary degrees from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Humber College and an Honorary Doctorate of Music from her alma mater The University of Western Ontario. She has recorded four studio albums. www.louisepitre.com
Kevin Odekirk (Robert) is thrilled to once again sing the role of "Robert" in Kristina, a part he originated in the NYC workshops. A native of Southern California, Kevin got his start in Hollywood with roles in such television shows as "Unhappily Ever After" and "Clueless," before moving to New York and making his Broadway debut as "Marius" in the long running hit musical Les Misérables. From Lincoln Center to The Hollywood Bowl and everywhere in between, Kevin has been privileged to perform with some of the worlds best entertainers including Barbara Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Josh Groban and many more. Most recently, Kevin joined the amazing Julie Andrews as one of five soloists in her long awaited return to the concert stage in The Gift of Music. Keep an eye out for the release of his debut CD "Unheard Of," a collection of previously unreleased works by major composers such as Stephen Schwartz, John Bucchino, Eric Whitacre, and more. www.KevinOdekirk.com.
HELEN SJÖHOLM (Kristina) one of Sweden's most celebrated stage performers, began singing at a young age in a chorus in her hometown of Sundsvall and made her professional debut in 1988 touring with the entertainment troupe "Just for Fun." For many Swedes, she will always be known for her major breakthrough performance as "Kristina" in Kristina från Duvemåla. The hit musical by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus was seen by over one million Swedes. Helen also played "Hodel" in Fiddler on the Roof and "Fantine" in Les Miserables. She starred in the Swedish production of Chess, as "Polly Peachum" in The Threepenny Opera and is currently playing "Eliza" in My Fair Lady at the Oscars Theatre in Stockholm. Helen has performed solo concerts on radio, television and on stages around the country. She is a lead vocalist in the Benny Andersson Band, whose song "You Are My Man" has topped the Swedish charts for five years.
RUSSELL WATSON (Karl Oskar) Adored by the UK public and widely known as "The Peoples Tenor," Russell Watson offers a rare glimpse at a remarkable Tenor who has a unique ability of delivering both Classical and Pop Music. 2001: Watson 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 9 albums to date and sold over 6 million records worldwide, he has won four classical BRIT Awards and is recognized as the UK's biggest selling classical artist of the 21st century. 2001: Sang the opening theme of star trek, enterprise, "where My Heart Will Take Me", 2006: Watson played Parson Nathaniel in the stage adaptation of Jeff Wayne's musical Version of The War of the Worlds. He has performed for the President of the United States, the UK Prime minister, the Emperor of Japan and the Pope. He has collaborated with varying artists such as Cliff Richards, Lulu, Lionel Ritchie, Mel C (of Spice Girls fame) and Meatloaf.
For more information visit, www.KristinaTheMusical.com.
Photo credit: David Leyes