Keala Settle used to win over audiences in productions of "South Pacific" and "Nunsense" at Southern Utah University, where she studied theater arts.
Now, Settle is getting rave reviews on Broadway, for her role in the musical "Hands on a Hardbody."
The musical is based on a 1997 documentary that profiled Texans trying to win a pick-up truck through a grueling contest in which they had to keep their hands on the vehicle longer than the competition. The musical features lyrics by Amanda Green ("Bring It On: The Musical"), music by Green and Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, and a book by Doug Wright ("I Am My Own Wife").
The New York Times' Charles Isherwood described Settle as "winning, big-voiced," and called her showcase number "Joy to the Lord" "one of the show's few out-and-out upbeat songs." In The Hollywood Reporter, critic David Rooney called the number a "standout," thanks to "the might-lunged Settle."
It's not Settle's first time on Broadway. In 2011, she made her Broadway debut as a member of the ensemble of "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" (which starred a fellow Utahn, Will Swenson).
|1.||USU football: Aggies won’t dwell on loss to Tennessee|
|2.||BYU football: Texas QB Ash won’t play vs. Cougars|
|3.||For many black Mormons, racism is a bigger issue than sexism|
|4.||Orem police track down stolen ring to a gut-wrenching place|
|5.||USU Football: Tennessee beats Utah State 38-7|
|6.||Five myths about the California drought|
|7.||BYU will face a backup QB Saturday vs. Texas|
|8.||BYU football: ‘Embarrassed’ Texas looks forward to Cougars’ visit|
|9.||Kate Kelly: As sisters in Zion, inclusion of women is common goal|
|10.||The vibe is back in downtown Salt Lake City|