TORONTO -- Vancouver native Robert Markus will star in an upcoming Canadian production of the smash stage musical "Dear Evan Hansen."

Producers say he'll play the title role in the show that's set to begin performances at Mirvish Productions' Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto on March 5.

It's the first international production of the show, which won six Tony Awards last year, including best musical.

"Dear Evan Hansen" follows a teenager with social anxiety disorder and his struggles to fit in.

The same creative team behind the Broadway production will launch the Toronto run.

Markus has performed at the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, and theatres in Toronto, Calgary, Hamilton and London, Ont.

Producers say they conducted a country-wide search for more than eight months to find their star.

"Evan Hansen is a very difficult role to perform. It requires a strong and versatile voice to do justice to the brilliant score. It is an acting challenge. In fact, it is one of those roles that is almost impossible to fill," producer David Mirvish said in a statement.

"The actor playing it must not only be able to scale the acting and singing challenges, but also be able to lead the entire acting company (and) Robert Markus meets all these criteria and more."