Keala Joan Settle (born November 5, 1976) 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. In 2017, she portrayed Lettie Lutz, a bearded lady, in the musical film The Greatest Showman. The song “This Is Me” from the film, principally sung by Settle, won the 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. On January 27, 2019, Settle sang “Seasons of Love” in Fox’s Rent: Live.
Settle made her Broadway debut in 2011 in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as Shirley and in the ensemble.
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: “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.” For this role, Settle was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Additionally, she was awarded the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway debut performance during the 2012-13 theatrical season.
Settle played the role of Madame Thenardier in the revival of Les Misérables, starting in March 2014, and ending on March 1, 2015.
Settle originated the role of Becky in the musical Waitress, which opened on Broadway on April 24, 2016, at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre after premiering at the American Repertory Theater in August 2015.
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