When I first met Keala Settle, it was for a taping of What The World Needs Now for Maya and Marty. First of all, I was already overwhelmed by all the Broadway greats that were in the room: Joel Grey, Victor Garber, Debra Monk, Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, I mean, the list goes on and on!
THEN, Keala looks up at me (cause I was on the back row of risers trying to “hide” literally gripping my friend Anika’s forearm out of anxiety) and says, “Lacretta! Come stand down here with us!” 😲 I was still stuck on the fact that she said my name right. Secondly, she was pointing to the space between her and Orfeh 🤤 I couldn’t move! I’m gripping Anika with the Strength of the Bear (whatchu know ’bout that Bravestar cartoon, son!?!) to the point I can hear her ulna turning to dust under my hand and all I could muster was to shake my head no.
I can give you a song and dance in a 2000+ seat theatre and yet, I can get painfully shy. But I love that moment because no one was trying to intimidate me or put on airs. Everyone was so kind. At one point Chita Rivera sat next to me on the couch and chatted with me.
I was honored. I have since had occasion to really sit and talk with Keala and Orfeh and they are both gems. I admire them so and Keala gives the best hugs!