Boxing Day saw the New Zealand release of “The Greatest Showman”, a musical about the life of American showman PT Barnum starring Hugh Jackman and supported by our very own Keala Settle. More accustomed to the stage than the big screen, Keala has been singing on Broadway since 2011 in musicals such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Les Misérables and Hands on a Hardbody where she earned a Tony nomination.
In her first motion picture “The Greatest Showman”, Keala plays the key role of the bearded lady Lettie Lutz, stirring intense emotion with her incredible voice belting out the movie’s theme song “This is Me”, dedicated to those who are marginalised and bullied. “This is Me” has received widespread critical acclaim and last week won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, sending the New Zealand media into a frenzy as they became aware her roots were Māori.
Keala was born in Hawaii to parents Susanne & David Settle, the granddaughter of Rua & Ti MacDonald. Although she was raised in the United States, her mother ensured her identity as Māori was strong. When questioned about her ‘Kiwi-ness’ recently, she replied on Twitter, “I will
ALWAYS be Māori…it is in the blood that runs through my veins. It will always be who I am, no matter where I call home, #wairua #tangatawhenua #makitanarathruandthru.”
The Academy Awards will be held on 4 March 2018 and we’re hoping to see her perform “This is Me” and of course win an Oscar.
#2 Tuiti Makitanara & Karaitiana McGregor > Ruanui MacDonald & Ti Te Maari >
Susanne & David Settle > Keala Settle