Helen SjÃ¶holm: The Swedish Star of Music and Film
Helen SjÃ¶holm is a Swedish singer, actress and musical theatre performer who lives in Gamla Enskede in Stockholm. She has a remarkable career that spans over three decades and includes roles in acclaimed musicals, films and concerts. She is best known for her portrayal of Kristina in Benny Andersson and BjÃ¶rn Ulvaeus’ musical Kristina frÃ¥n DuvemÃ¥la, which she played for nearly four years. She is also a frequent performer with Benny Andersson’s band, Benny Anderssons Orkester (BAO), singing mostly dance music and music by Andersson.
Early Life and Career
Helen SjÃ¶holm was born on 10 July 1970 in Sundsvall, Sweden. She grew up in a musical family and started to sing in choirs at an early age, working, among others, with Swedish conductor Kjell LÃ¶nnÃ¥. By the end of the 1980s she toured with the group “Just for Fun”. Her career as a performer of musical theatre began with small-scale concert presentations of Chess, in which she sang the role of Florence. She took part in a number of smaller productions, including Little Dorrit in Enskede and the musical Elvira Madigan at MalmÃ¶ Music Theatre in MalmÃ¶, Sweden.
Breakthrough with Kristina frÃ¥n DuvemÃ¥la
Her big breakthrough occurred in 1995 when she created the title role in Benny Andersson and BjÃ¶rn Ulvaeus’ Kristina frÃ¥n DuvemÃ¥la, a musical based on the novels by Vilhelm Moberg about Swedish immigrants in America. She played the role of Kristina on and off for nearly four years (during the musical’s entire run) and received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. Minneapolis Star and Tribune in its review of the concert version of the musical performed by the original cast in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1996 described her as “extraordinary”. She also recorded the original cast album of the musical, which won several awards and became one of the best-selling albums in Sweden.
Other Musical Roles and Concerts
In 1998, she played Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, taking a break from Kristina. In 2000, she returned to MalmÃ¶ Music Theatre to portray the role of Fantine in Les MisÃ©rables, and in 2002 she created the role of Florence in the reconceived Swedish production of Chess, opposite original London star Tommy KÃ¶rberg as Anatoly. Having left this production upon closing in 2003, SjÃ¶holm took part in Chinarevyn, a revue starring many well-known Swedish performers including Magnus HÃ¤renstam, Lasse Berghagen, Loa Falkman, Sissela Kyle and herself. Helen SjÃ¶holm has also toured extensively throughout Sweden with Georg Wadenius and Martin Ãstergren and she has released two albums, Visor (2002) (a collection of more or less well-known Swedish folk songs in new arrangements by Ãstergren) and Genom varje andetag (2003) (featuring music and lyrics by jazz pianist Anders Widmark).
Film Career and BAO
She first appeared on the big screen in 1999, appearing in DÃ¤r regnbÃ¥gen slutar by Richard Hobert. In 2004, she returned to the movies, portraying the role of Gabriella in Kay Pollak’s much-debated SÃ¥ som i himmelen (As It Is in Heaven), a film about a choir director who returns to his hometown and inspires a group of singers. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. She also starred in the sequel SÃ¥ ock pÃ¥ jorden (Heaven on Earth) in 2015. In 2023, she starred in Thunder in my heart, an original series on Viaplay that returns for a second season.
Helen SjÃ¶holm is also a frequent performer with Benny Andersson’s band, Benny Anderssons Orkester (BAO), singing mostly dance music and music by Anders