By Keith Tomasek, April 5, 2019
Robert Markus, who Stratford Festival fans will recognize from his critically acclaimed performances in the musicals “Tommy,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “The Music Man” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” currently stars in Toronto’s critically acclaimed production of ‘Dear Evan Hansen.’
His performance is getting rave reviews from Toronto critics and I’ve collected all the reviews at this link.
Originally from Vancouver, Markus graduated from the University of Alberta in 2010 with a BFA Acting and went on to perform at Alberta’s Theatre Calgary and the Citadel Theatre as well as Ontario’s Young People’s Theatre, Theatre Aquarius, Musical Stage Company and Drayton Productions.
The producers went through an eight-month cross-country search and more than 800 individual auditions, before casting Markus as Evan Hansen.
1) Apart from your tremendous voice, name one or two things that you believe helped you get the role.
That is a hard question. One of them is probably Evan Buliung. He went down to the Mirvish offices and asked if they had seen me for the role. His recommendation went to the casting offices and they re-reviewed my submission. Before I knew it, I was auditioning for the team. So, thanks, Evan!
Photo by Matthew Murphy
2) The score, by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”), is complex and it won them their first Tony Award for Best Original Score. How much of an adjustment was it for you after your recent role as Riff Raff in the “Rocky Horror Show” at the Stratford Festival?
It’s a huge adjustment but also such an exciting one. I am so grateful to be able to perform roles that are so contrasting whether physically, mentally, emotionally or in the musical style that they sing in. The biggest challenge of “Dear Evan Hansen” is finding and developing the vocal stamina to survive the entire show and a week’s worth of performances. For “Rocky Horror,” we only performed the show four times a week. For DEH, I perform six times a week. It’s only two more shows a week, but it’s 50% more performances than Stratford.
3) At its worst social media can hijack our psychological vulnerabilities. At its best, it can bring people together and propel social change. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you through social media?
I’m not huge on social media myself. However, I do enjoy Instagram. I think the best thing that has happened to me through Instagram has been a way to document this experience. Being tagged in pictures that castmates or the creative team have posted has been a fantastic way to document this experience through photos. A nice little time capsule of our shared experience.
4) Your character Evan becomes very popular in his school and like many people who gain instant notoriety he isn’t equipped to handle it well. How have you been handling all the attention that comes with playing such a significant role?
With respect and gratitude.
Photo by Matthew Murphy
Either / Or
Pick 3 and reply with a sentence or 2.
Steak or Salad?
Steak Salad. Gotcha.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. I didn’t drink a lot of coffee before I met my partner, Jennifer. So, I can thank her for my morning coffee routine.
iPhone or Android?
Prairie sunsets or City sunsets?
City Sunsets because I’m living in Toronto for the show right now.
Dear Evan Hansen
Book by Steven Levenson
Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Directed by Michael Greif
March 5 to June 30, 2019
Royal Alexandra Theatre
260 King Street West, Toronto
Dear Evan Hansen Tickets
Note on Wednesday and Saturday matinees, the role of Evan Hansen will be performed by Zachary Noah Piser.
Call 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333