Blanshay will be Chief Executive Officer of the new company, which will operate both in New York and the West End. The company will develop and produce plays and musicals internationally.
Blanshay's own recent Broadway credits include Evita, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Jesus Christ Superstar, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, The Scottsboro Boys and Catch Me if you Can; in the West End, he has been represented by A Chorus of Disapproval and the transfer of Twelfth Night and Richard III from Shakespeare's Globe.
Current West End projects for the new company include A Chorus Line, which has just opened at the London Palladium, Old Times (currently running at the Pinter Theatre), and the forthcoming transfer of Merrily We Roll Along from the Menier Chocolate Factory to the Pinter. On Broadway, it is co-producing Kinky Boots, and future projects include Bullets Over Broadway for 2014.
In a press statement, Gilbert Rozen, founder of Just For Laughs Group, commented, "In addition to the incredible comedy festivals we have been producing for 30 years, we have also been producing French-language adaptations of beloved musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, Chicago, Rent and many more. And while comedy has always been our focus, we believe great theatre – whether musical, drama or comedy – can be an equally powerful unifying force. We look forward to this exciting expansion of the Just For Laughs brand and to join forces with a bright talent like Adam to spearhead this venture for us."
Blanshay added, "As a native Canadian, I have long admired Gilbert and Just For Laughs Group not only for the spotlight they have shone on Montreal as an international cultural, recreational and touristic capital but also for how they have projected Montreal, Quebec and Canada to the rest of the world. It is my plan to bring the values the JFL brand has already established as pioneers of comedy to produce exceptional shows on Broadway, in the West End and worldwide."