Keala Settle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Keala Settle
Born Keala Joan Settle
(1975-11-05) November 5, 1975 (age 42)
Laie, Oahu, Hawaii
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active 2002–present

Keala Joan Settle (born November 5, 1975) is an American actress and singer. Settle originated the role of Norma Valverde in Hands on a Hardbody, which ran on Broadway in 2013, and was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, and Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

Personal life[edit]

Settle was born in Hawaii, the eldest of five children of Susanne (née Riwai), who is of Māori descent from New Zealand, and British-born David Settle. Settle was raised in the Mormon faith.[1] She is a graduate of Kahuku High School (class of 1993), and an alumna of Southern Utah University. (class of 2016)[2][3][4][5]



Settle made her Broadway debut in 2011 in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as Shirley and in the ensemble.[4][6]

Settle originated the role of Norma Valverde in Hands on a Hardbody, a musical which ran briefly on Broadway in 2013, and is based on the 1997 documentary about real people competing to win a new truck. The TheatreMania reviewer wrote: "...but Settle, as Norma, steals every scene she's in. The spectacularly bizarre lead-in to her big number, 'Joy of the Lord,' is more difficult to pull off than most Shakespearean monologues, and her solo vocals reveal a soulful, oversized gospel range that drives the Holy Spirit straight to the back of the theater. When she tearfully realizes what her faith in God may have wrought, it stings like a chigger bite. Settle's touching performance should go on the shortlist for every Best Featured Actress prize in town."[7] For this role, Settle was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.[8][9][10][11] Additionally, she was awarded the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway debut performance during the 2012-13 theatrical season.[12]

Settle played the role of Madame Thenardier in the revival of Les Misérables, starting in March 2014,[13] and ending on March 1, 2015.[14]

She starred in the stage musical Waitress, which opened on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on April 24, 2016, as Becky. She played this role in the premiere production at the ART (Cambridge, Massachusetts) in August to September 27, 2015.[15]

Other work[edit]

Settle played the role of Tracy Turnblad in the national tour of Hairspray. In the review of the tour stop at the Kennedy Center in 2005, the Washington Post reviewer wrote: " As for Settle, she is a fine Tracy, even if she looks too old for graduate school, let alone high school."[16] She appeared in the national tour of the Lincoln Center production of South Pacific as Bloody Mary, starting in 2009.[17][18] The reviewer for the Pioneer Press, Massachusetts, wrote: "Better cast is Keala Settle, who plays the conniving Tonkinese trader lady Bloody Mary with a rolling gait, the venom of viper and—buried deeply but achingly visible in strategic moments—the maternal fierceness of a lioness."[19]

In November through December 2012, Settle played the role of Mrs. Fezziwig in the Pioneer Theatre Company (Salt Lake City) production of the musical A Christmas Carol.[20]

She played the role of the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Ogunquit Playhouse, Ogunquit, Maine from July 31 to August 25, 2013.[21]

Settle performed in the Encores! concert staging of Violet on July 17, 2013 with Sutton Foster, [22] but did not move on to the Broadway revival due to taking the role Madame Thénardier in the revival of Les Misérables; she was replaced in Violet by Annie Golden.

Settle discussed her career path, noting that "...I really am not a musical theatre performer. I'm more an R&B singer and have been doing that my whole life. My mother is—well, was—also an R&B singer, in New Zealand....I was too busy wanting to sing backup or doing studio work singing chorus stuff, and singing backup for Gladys Knight in Vegas." Further, after her run in Hairspray, she stated that she "...didn't know how to live in that world..." and so for several years worked backstage with designers until she was cast in South Pacific.[1]

In 2017, Settle portrayed Lettie Lutz, a bearded lady, in the biographical musical drama The Greatest Showman, alongside Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya. The song "This is Me" from the film, principally sung by Settle, won the 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.[23]


  1. ^ a b Gans, Andrew. "DIVA TALK: A Chat With 'Hands on a Hardbody' Star Keala Settle" Playbill, March 8, 2013
  2. ^ "Southern Utah University alum Keala Settle earns Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical"Salt Lake Tribune, April 30, 2013
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b Champion, Lindsay. "Broadway Buzz. Hands on a Hardbody Showstopper Keala Settle on Growing Up Barefoot..", March 14, 2013
  5. ^ Burkitt, Bree. "The greatest show woman: SUU alum Keala Settle finds success on screen and stage" The Spectrum, January 10, 2018
  6. ^ " 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' Listing' " ibdb, accessed May 11, 2013
  7. ^ Kaye, Kimberly."Review. 'Hands on a Hardbody'", March 22, 2013
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew (2013-04-22). "Outer Critics Circle Nominees Announced; Pippin Earns 11 Nominations". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2013-04-25. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew (2013-04-29). "Nominations Announced for 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards; Giant and Hands on a Hardbody Lead the Pack". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  10. ^ "Tony Awards 2013 nominees: Complete list". Los Angeles Times. 2013-04-30. Retrieved 2013-04-30. 
  11. ^ "Buzz. Keala Settle Popped the Champagne on Nomination Morning"
  12. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Tom Hanks, Bertie Carvel, Valisia LeKae, Rob McClure and More Are Theatre World Award Winners" Archived 2013-06-07 at the Wayback Machine., May 7, 2013
  13. ^ Playbill Staff. "Beyond the Barricades: 'Les Misérables' Thénardier and Madame Thénardier" Playbill, March 18, 2014
  14. ^ Gioia, Michael. "Caissie Levy, Andy Mientus, Keala Settle, Cliff Saunders and Kyle Scatliffe Take Final Bows in 'Les Misérables'" Playbill, March 1, 2015
  15. ^ Viagas, Robert. " 'Bullets Over Broadway' Star Nick Cordero Joins Cast of Broadway-Bound 'Waitress'" Playbill, January 12, 2016
  16. ^ Marks, Peter. Mostly, 'Hairspray' Holds Up Well", July 18, 2005
  17. ^ "People, Keala Settle"
  18. ^ Blank, Matthew. "PHOTO CALL: 'South Pacific' Tour Begins Rehearsal", August 26, 2009
  19. ^ Papatola, Dominic P. "Theater review: 'South Pacific' is very nearly an enchanted evening", May 5, 2010
  20. ^ Gioia, Michael. "Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens' 'Christmas Carol', With Kevin Earley, Laura Hall, Opens Nov. 30 in Salt Lake City", November 30, 2012
  21. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Clay Aiken and Keala Settle Star in Ogunquit's 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat', Beginning July 31", July 31, 2013
  22. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Sutton Foster, Joshua Henry, Van Hughes, Keala Settle, Christopher Sieber Star in One-Night-Only 'Violet' July 17" Archived 2013-11-03 at the Wayback Machine., July 17, 2013
  23. ^ Grobar, Matt (November 17, 2017). "The Greatest Showman Songwriters Benj Pasek & Justin Paul On The Revitalization Of The Original Hollywood Musical". 

External links[edit]