She sings the rousing anthem “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman, which recently won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. Come March 4, Keala Settle will perform the soul-stirring song live in all its glory as it competes in the same category on the 2018 Academy Awards.
The Broadway singer-actress, who plays the bearded lady Lettie Lutz in The Greatest Showman, shared the news on Instagram last week with a photo of herself and Hugh Jackman in a scene from the original musical film. In the accompanying caption, Settle jokingly “blames” Jackman, songwriters Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, as well as director Michael Gracey, stating “it’s ALL #yourfault (that) I’m going to @theacademy.” Incidentally, Paul and Pasek won the Oscar for Best Original Song for La La Land last year.
To say that the 42-year-old is excited about performing at the Oscar ceremony is an understatement as days later, she put up another Instagram post thanking the four gentlemen yet again, this time with just a simple picture that shows an Oscar statuette and a hashtag #becauseofyou.
The Greatest Showman is Settle’s first major role in a feature film for which she did much research on the history of bearded ladies. However, it was singing her big solo number “This Is Me” that scared the living daylights out of her, as she informed Playbill. The reason?
“…because of how well it was written and where it was within the sequence of the film and what I knew it would mean for not only those that were involved on set but for the rest of the world once they saw it.”
“This Is Me” has since been embraced by many as an inspirational anthem for strength, courage, and belief in one’s uniqueness.
Born to a British dad and a New Zealander mom, Settle recently released her first EP, Chapter One, which contains five tracks, including a cover of Bette Midler’s “The Rose.”
Her first breakout performance was on Broadway in 2013’s Hands on a Hardbody for which she earned a Tony nomination. Other stage credits include a 2014 revival of Les Misérables and 2016’s Waitress.
The Greatest Showman: Making Box Office History
Meanwhile, The Greatest Showman – which is inspired by the life of American 19th-century circus entrepreneur P.T. Barnum – continues to be one of the most fascinating sleeper hits of all time.
When the $84 million film made only $8.8 million on its opening weekend last December, critics were ready to brand it a massive flop. Then it miraculously made twice as much in its second weekend, which is a very rare occurrence in Hollywood, according to The Atlantic and many other trade papers.
Now, the musical drama is a bona fide hit having grossed to date a total domestic gross of $126.5 million, after earning $9.6 million in its sixth weekend. Which means The Greatest Showman not only earned an astonishing 14.3 times its opening weekend gross, but it also grossed more on its sixth weekend than on its debut Fri-Sun time frame.
According to Forbes, if the Hugh Jackman passion project passes $143 million – highly possible thanks to great word of mouth and the theatrical release of a sing-along version – it will be the third leggiest wide release in 20 years behind Chicago (2002) and Titanic (1997), movies that ran in theaters for months after their debuts.
The Greatest Showman soundtrack, with nine original “earworm” tracks, is also a key driver for the film’s phenomenal success. It spent two weeks at the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart – the first since 2016’s Suicide Squad: The Album – and also reached No. 1 on iTunes in more than 60 countries.
At this juncture, industry watchers believe that it will not be impossible for The Greatest Showman to pass the $151 million domestic gross of last year’s Oscar-winning original musical, La La Land.
The Greatest Showman is still running in theaters. The 90th Academy Awards airs live on ABC on March 4, 2018.