Dear Evan Hansen: Your Canadian co-stars have been found.
On Wednesday, producers Stacey Mindich and David Mirvish announced the full cast of the upcoming Toronto production of the hit 2017 winner of the Tony Award for best musical – including a recent Dora Mavor Moore Award winner, a well-known country singer and a former Anne of Green Gables returning to the stage after a two-decade absence.
With a score by Oscar-winning songwriting team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land), Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of an awkward teenager who ends up deeply involved with the Murphy family after their son dies – and a little white lie snowballs on social media.
In December, the producers announced that the Stratford Festival’s Robert Markus (Tommy in Tommy, Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show) would be playing the lead role.
Jessica Sherman, a Toronto native whose U.K.-based credits include Tom Stoppard’s Rock ’n’ Roll on the West End and Batman Live, will be joining him as Evan’s mother Heidi Hansen. Since returning to Canada, Sherman has performed in and helped develop new musicals such as Rumspringa Break! and The Preposterous Predicament of Polly Peel at the Next Stage and Toronto Fringe festivals.
Over at the Murphy household, Evan Buliung, a long-time Stratford Festival star, will play family patriarch Larry. Buliung recently won a Dora for his moving performance as another dad in the Mirvish/Musical Stage Company production of Fun Home.
Cynthia Murphy, Larry’s wife, will be played by Claire Rankin, who as a young actor was Anne at the Charlottetown Festival and spent four seasons at Stratford, but then transitioned to acting in film and TV. The Prince Edward Island-raised actress is returning to her theatrical roots after a 20-year hiatus from the stage.
Zoe, the Murphys' daughter and object of Evan’s affection, will be played by Stephanie La Rochelle – a Canadian Country Music Association Award nominee who was a runner-up on CBC-TV’s Over the Rainbow.
Rounding out the main cast are Sean Patrick Dolan (as Connor Murphy), Alessandro Costantini (as Jared Kleinman) and Shakura Dickson (as Alana Beck).
“It is with great joy and pride that we announce the cast of the Canadian production of Dear Evan Hansen, which also happens to be the first international production of our show,” said Mindich, the New York-based lead producer whose team conducted an eight-month search across the country.
Dear Evan Hansen will begin performances at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre on March 5.