No place like home for Sheldon Bergstrom

Jason
Jason Kerr
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Sheldon Bergstrom’s career has taken him across the world, but he still has a soft spot for his hometown.

The actor/comedian was back in town last month to MC the opening and closing ceremonies of the Saskatchewan Winter Games.

“It was absolutely the perfect week to be home,” Bergstrom says from his home in Regina.  “Everything was going on.  People were out and about.  We got to see so many faces and friends that I hadn’t seen in so long.  It was a trip down memory lane for me.”

The former P.A. resident and says he likes to get back to Prince Albert as much as possible, although it’s difficult with his busy schedule.  In the last several years he’s hosted three Telemiracle fundraisers, acted in more than 30 plays and performed overseas for Canadian troops.

However, he says he jumped at the opportunity to MC the Winter Games as soon as organizers offered him the role.

“I thought it was kind of funny that it’s the Winter Games and I’m probably the biggest guy ever to live in Prince Albert,” he says with a laugh.  “I got to use that to my advantage and joke around with the audience a bit and they were so much fun.”

Bergstrom has always maintained connections in Prince Albert, built mostly from his early days with Odyssey Productions, Broadway North, The Lion’s Den and Country North.  He says that early help and support was responsible for getting him to where he is today.

“I made some of my closest friends that I’ll ever have,” he says.  “They’re long lost family to me that I never realized I had until I met them.  Now they’re essentials to my life and my existence.”

Bergstrom easily recalls the names of the people who gave him his start in the entertainment industry.  People like Paul Lomheim at Country North, who got Bergstrom started MCing, and Malcolm and Melba Jenkins who paid his way to New York City so he could audition for a Broadway show.

“I owe it all to them,” he says.  “I owe everything I have and everything I will ever be to the city of Prince Albert so any chance I get to give back is a blessing and a gift.”

The Winter Games were more than just a homecoming though.  Bergstrom says he likes to give back, but he also enjoys it, especially being a master of ceremonies.

“It’s a fun job, for me anyway.  I really love chatting with people, getting to be a little silly sometimes, I guess depending on what they’ve hired me for,” he says.  “When you’re MCing they want you to be a little more free-spirited.”

So how does it stack up against some of his other gigs?  Bergstrom says it’s too difficult to pick a No. 1 memory from his time as a performer, although hosting Telemiracle and performing for Canadian Forces bases in Croatia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf are the top contenders.

 “They’re some of the (best) crowds,” Berstrom says of the Canadian Forces.  “We didn’t expect that from soldiers.  They’re really an incredible group.  They’re very positive and gung-ho.”

Now that the Winter Games are done Bergstrom says he’s turning his attention back to acting.  The former Vincent Massey Community School student will play the mother in an upcoming Edmonton-based performance of the musical comedy Hairspray.  It’s traditional for men in drag to play the role.

“It’s such an amazing show.  It’s so funny and the music is incredible,” he says.  “The story is heart wrenching and it still fits with today.”

He’s also hoping to get involved as a director.  Despite years of acting experience in movies and TV, Bergstrom says he wants to get involved directing theatre productions.

“I’m hoping this next year will bring me a bit more working in that field.”

Whatever he does, Bergstrom says he’ll fondly remember his hometown, and hopes to see some of Prince Albert’s younger performers follow in his footsteps.

“I love seeing people from my hometown do amazing things.”

Organizations: Canadian Forces, Vincent Massey Community School

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Regina, Country North Broadway North New York City Broadway Croatia Bosnia Afghanistan Persian Gulf

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