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By Stuart Nulman

 

 

Westmount native Adam Blanshay knew from the moment when he was a pre-teen, and received from his aunt and uncle a copy of the double cassette version of the original London cast album of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic musical “Phantom of the Opera”, that the theatre — especially musical theatre — was in his blood, and that he loved the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd that went along with it.

 

 

That love of the stage continued when he performed as a regular cast member with the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre, and then studied theatre at McGill University, where he dabbled in directing by staging a production of another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, this time “Evita”.

 

 

However, Blanshay’s crowning achievement in the theatrical world happened in 2013, when he was appointed CEO of the newly formed Just For Laughs Theatricals, which he runs with Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon, who serves as the company’s chairman. Since its inception nearly four years ago, Blanshay and Just For Laughs Theatricals has staged over 40 major theatrical productions that have played not only on Broadway and London’s West End, but also around the world with several touring companies, and has earned them two Tony Awards and five Olivier Awards.

 

 

And thanks to Blanshay’s business savvy and expansive knowledge of the theatre world, Just For Laughs Theatricals has an impressive resume of award-winning hit productions under their belt, including “The Color Purple”, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime”, “Wolf Hall”, “Pippin”, “1984”, “Sunny Afternoon” (a musical based on the songs of the popular 1960s British rock group The Kinks), and “Kinky Boots”, which won six Tony Awards in 2013, including Best Musical.

 

 

From January 3 to 8, 2017, Just For Laughs Theatricals, along with evenko and Broadway Across Canada, will present that six-time Tony Award winning musical for the first time in Montreal at Place des Arts.

 

 

Written by acclaimed playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein (“Torch Song Trilogy”, “La Cage Aux Folles”, “Hairspray”), with music and lyrics by 1980s pop icon Cyndi Lauper, and directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell, “Kinky Boots” is based on true events, and tells the story of Charlie Price, a young man who is struggling to meet his father’s expectations and hold up his family’s business, a shoe factory in Northampton. However, the fortunes of the Price & Son shoe factory unexpectedly change for the better when a potential customer — in the guise of a fabulous performer named Lola — shows up at the factory and requests a new pair of sturdy new stiletto shoes for herself.    

 

 

Tickets for the Montreal run of “Kinky Boots” range from $36.25 to $115.25 (taxes and service fees included), and can be purchased at the Place des Arts box office, by calling 1-866-842-2112, or online at www.evenko.ca or www.placdesarts.com.