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Sugar, butter and flour are ingredients cut through the lyrics of pop singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles' score for "Waitress," the latest Broadway musical to be set in a diner.
And those are the opening words of "Soft Place to Land," a performance highlight for former Utahn Keala Settle.
Settle originated the role of Becky, a brassy waitress who is a supportive friend of Jenna, Jessie Mueller's title character in the Tony-nominated musical. "It's just us three gals," Settle says of the late-in-the-first act number, which also features Mueller and Kimiko Glenn. "That is a special moment for us to check in with each other onstage."
Settle performed in the musical's debut last year at American Repertory Theater and transferred with the show to Broadway this spring. She loves working with the show's ensemble of actors and musicians, calling the cast "an incredible collection of talented human beings, led by one of the most humble people in the industry, Jessie Mueller." In addition, she praises the heart Bareilles invested in the show's score.
Performing on this year's Tony broadcast Sunday night is just another chapter in the Broadway story for Settle, a native Hawaiian who earned her degree from Southern Utah University. (She finished the majority of her coursework in 1989 and then completed graduation requirements earlier this year.) Settle, the oldest of five kids in a Mormon family, says she received most of her early vocal training from singing in the shower.
She earned a Best Featured Actress Tony nomination in 2013 playing Norma Valverde in "Hands on a Hardbody." On Broadway, she's also played Madame Thénardier in "Les Misérables" and performed in the original cast of "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert," as well as touring with "South Pacific" and "Hairspray."
The actor most recently performed in Utah in 2012 as Mrs. Fezziwig in Pioneer Theatre Company's "A Christmas Carol," and Settle calls herself " a huge fan" of artistic director Karen Azenberg. Last year Settle made her film debut in "Ricki and the Flash," which featured Meryl Streep as an aging rock diva.
What she likes about playing Becky is the character's "sassiness and inner beauty." She says: "Bringing it to the stage has forced me to find all that within myself."
Tonys on TV
James Corden ("The Late Late Show") who is himself a Tony winner (2012's best actor in a musical for "One Man, Two Guvnors") hosts the 70th annual Tony Awards, which honor Broadway's best. The live telecast (tape-delayed in the Mountain time zone) will feature a performance by the cast of "Hamilton," which is expected to win a whole lot of Tonys.
Watch • 7 p.m. Sunday, CBS/Ch. 2