NEW YORK (AP) — The producers behind one of the largest comedy festivals in the world are launching a new theatrical subsidiary that hopes to become a major player on Broadway and in London's West End.

The Just For Laughs Group on Monday unveiled its new stage-orientated producing division and said Adam Blanshay will be its chief executive officer.

Just For Laughs Theatricals, which will be based in New York City, is already signed on to help produce the new Broadway musical "Kinky Boots," the West End productions of "A Chorus Line," ''Old Times" with Kristin Scott Thomas, and "Merrily We Roll Along." Future projects include the new Broadway musical "Bullets Over Broadway" in 2014.

"While comedy has always been our focus, we believe great theatre — whether musical, drama or comedy — can be an equally powerful unifying force," Gilbert Rozon, founder of the Just For Laughs Group, said in a statement.

Blanshay's recent Broadway credits include the revival of "Evita" starring Ricky Martin, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" with Daniel Radcliffe, "The Scottsboro Boys," ''Catch Me If You Can" and "Jerusalem." He has been nominated for six Tony Awards, one Grammy Award, and is a graduate of McGill University.

The Just For Laughs Group creates comedy festivals around the globe, dozens of hours of TV and operates concert tours. It is behind the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, which this summer will celebrate its 31st anniversary.

The festival attracts 2 million people each summer and has featured Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, John Cleese, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Jason Alexander, Dane Cook and Tim Allen.

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Online: http://www.hahaha.com/en/about-us/theatricals

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