Born in Hawaii in 1975, Keala Settle is a Tony-nominated actress of stage and screen. She is best known for playing Lettie Lutz in the 2017 movie, The Greatest Showman. Settle will make her West End debut as the Nurse in & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
During her collegiate career at Southern Utah University, she played Mama Rose in Gypsy. However, she dropped out of college during her senior year in 1996 to make her professional debut in a national tour of Hairspray. 20 years later, Settle then graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Theatre Arts.
The Hairspray musical went on to change Settle's life. After joining the Hairspray tour in the nineties, she later returned to the musical to play Tracy Turnblad, staying in the role from 2003 to 2006. In 2009, she was then cast as Bloody Mary in a national tour of South Pacific.
After years of touring, Settle made her Broadway debut as Shirley in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in 2011. Two years later, Settle originated her first Broadway role — Norma Valverde in Hands on a Hardbody. Even though the musical only ran for two months at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Settle made an impression on theatre critics, and was subsequently nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
Following Hands on a Hardbody, Settle played Madame Thenardier in the 2014 Broadway revival of Les Miserables, appearing alongside Ramin Karimloo and Caissie Levy. She stayed in Les Miserables for a year, before going on to originate the role of Becky in Waitress at the American Repertory Theater, and then in the Broadway production.
In 2017, Settle became a worldwide name, thanks to her critically-acclaimed performance as Lettie Lutz, the bearded lady, in The Greatest Showman. During the film, Settle leads the breakout song, “This Is Me,” which won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Since The Greatest Showman film was released, Settle has sung the ballad worldwide, including live performances on a global tour with Hugh Jackman, and at the Royal Variety Performance.
Settle’s additional theatre credits include regional productions of A Christmas Carol, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Rent: Live on television, and a concert production of Violet with Sutton Foster.