Maggie McKenna, who became an overnight star when she made her professional debut as Muriel Heslop in the Australian musical Muriel’s Wedding, has been cast in the US tour of Dear Evan Hansen.

She will play the female lead Zoe Murphy in the Tony Award-winning production, with Ben Levi Ross as Evan Hansen. The tour begins performances this September at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, then plays in more than 50 cities over a two-year period, including Los Angeles this October/November, and San Francisco in December.

Maggie McKenna. Photograph © James Green

As a result, it appears that McKenna will not play Muriel when Muriel’s Wedding returns to Sydney’s Lyric Theatre in July 2019. With a book by PJ Hogan based on his iconic 1994 film, and songs by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, Muriel’s Wedding was a smash hit when it premiered at Sydney’s Roslyn Packer Theatre in November 2017. Produced by Global Creatures and Sydney Theatre Company, the entire season, which ran until late January 2018, was sold out. The show won seven awards at the Sydney Theatre Awards, with McKenna sharing the award for Best Newcomer.

A representative for Global Creatures told Limelight that the casting announcement for the 2019 return season of Muriel’s Wedding, announced earlier this year, is “imminent”. The big question is who will play Muriel – a role that director Simon Phillips, the producers and creative team found very hard to cast for the show’s premiere?

Dear Evan Hansen features a score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and a book by Steven Levenson. Directed by Steven Levenson, it won six 2017 Tony Awards. Along with the record-breaking Broadway production, and the US tour, the first international production will open in Toronto in March 2019.