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Cabaret News: Julie Benko, Sally Mayes, Ellen’s Stardust Diner, Drag Me To Joanne’s and Lucille Carr-Kaffashan

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Birdland Jazz Club will present the return of Julie Benko – direct from Broadway’s Funny Girl and Harmony – with her band Euphonic Gumbo on Monday, February 12 at 7:00 PM. Benko will march her band out to celebrate Mardi Gras with six instrumentalists, including her jazz-pianist spouse Jason Yeager, in addition to Michael O’Brien on bass, Jay Sawyer on drums, Andy Warren on trumpet, Evan Harris on clarinet, and Rebecca Patterson on trombone. She is joined by her former Funny Girl castmate and tap dancer extraordinaire John Manzari as special guest. There is a $30-40 music charge. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street in New York.

Performing in the classic New Orleans jazz style, Julie lets the good times roll with a delightful potpourri of tunes inspired by her love of the Crescent City. Songs include selections from Hand in Hand, Benko and Yeager’s recent album from Club44 Records (“Louisiana Fairy Tale,” “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”), Benko’s debut album (“Love for Sale”) and other classics (“Basin St. Blues,” “When the Saints Go Marching In”). There will be trivia, there will be prizes, and there will be sequins. Grab your beads and join the parade – nobody’s gonna rain on this one!

Julie Benko joined the annals of theatrical lore for her sensational understudy-to-star trajectory as Fanny Brice in the recent Broadway revival of Funny Girl. Between her tenure as the standby, alternate, and full-time Fanny, she played the role over 180 times and received numerous accolades for her interpretation, including Theatre World’s Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theatre. She was also called the 2022 “Breakout Star for Theater” in The New York Times, named among “10 Broadway Stars to Watch for 2023” by Variety, honored as one of “40 Under 40” for Crain’s New York Business, hailed by CBS Mornings as “Broadway’s breakout star,” and profiled in numerous national media outlets such as The New York Times and Time. She is currently back on Broadway originating the role of Ruth in the Barry Manilow/Bruce Sussman musical Harmony. Her recent album Hand in Hand (Club44 Records), a duo effort with her pianist-composer spouse Jason Yeager, won the BroadwayWorld Cabaret Award for “Best Commercial Album” and received a MAC Award nomination for “Best Major Album.” Other recordings include Christmas with You (Club44 Records) and Introducing Julie Benko. She has played leading roles in many Off-Broadway and regional productions and enjoys a vibrant concert career, having headlined sold-out solo shows at venues around the country.

Birdland Jazz Club will present Julie Benko with her band Euphonic Gumbo on Monday, February 12 at 7:00 PM. There is a $30-40 music charge and a $20 food and beverage minimum. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) in Manhattan. For reservations, please call (212) 581-3080 or visit www.BirdlandJazz.com.

The Green Room 42 – the intimate concert venue dubbed Broadway’s “off-night hotspot” by The New York Times – will present Tony Award-nominated Broadway favorite Sally Mayes in “Now and Then: Jazz Standard Time,” the second installment of her new concert series, on Wednesday, February 21 at 7:00 PM. Known best for her Tony nominated performance in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of She Loves MePeople Magazine describes Mayes as “the kind of rich theatrical voice that elevates a show tune.” The original Keely of the cult musical Pete ‘n’ Keely realized she has a lot of great arrangements, a plethora of stories, and a desire to sing ALL of them. She has run the gamut with her theatrical concerts and recordings from Broadway, jazz, and country, to pop and the American Songbook. Now is going to “sing ‘em all and stay here all night.” The evening features music director Ted Firth on piano, with Tom Hubbard on bass.

Sally Mayes made her Broadway debut in Cy Coleman’s Welcome to the Club. Her performance won critical praise along with a Theatre World Award and an Outer Critics Circle nomination as one of Broadway’s Outstanding Newcomers. On Broadway, Sally is perhaps best known for her performance in the Roundabout Theater revival of She Loves Me, for which she won Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle nominations. Sally appeared as Aunt Corene in Urban Cowboy (Drama Desk nomination). She drew raves as Mae West in the national tour of Dirty Blonde and also appeared in the Broadway revival of Steel Magnolias. Her film and television credits include “Alpha House,” “City Hall,” “Double Parked,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Sex and the City,” and “The Job.” Sally also appears on countless cast recordings, including Closer Than EverShe Loves MeDas BarbecuBye Bye BirdieLost in BostonUnsung MusicalsUnsung Sondheim, and The Night of the Hunter. Sally has five solo albums: The Dorothy Fields SongbookOur Private World: The Comden & Green SongbookThe Story HourBoys and Girls Like You and Me, and Valentine. Sally’s much-anticipated nightclub appearances have garnered her rave reviews from coast-to-coast; she has been nominated for 12 MAC Awards, and has won two Bistro Awards for excellence in cabaret and recordings.

Sally Mayes will perform “Now and Then: Jazz Standard Time” on Wednesday, February 21 at 7:00 PM at The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel). The cover charge ranges from $20-$50. A livestream option is available for $20. For tickets, please visit www.TheGreenRoom42.com

Pop the Champagne! Ellen’s Stardust Diner in Times Square will celebrate the month of love by partnering with Moulin Rouge! The Musical, winner of 10 Tony Awards® including Best Musical and a theatrical celebration of glitz, grandeur, glory and above all – love. From February 1 to February 29, 2024, couples will have the opportunity to win a chance to see the show and so much more.

The partnership details include:

·         Pop the Question or Exchange Vows at Ellen’s – During the month of February, any couples who get engaged or host an intimate wedding at the Diner will receive complimentary tickets to Moulin Rouge! The Musical barring blackout dates and subject to availability. To arrange a proposal or wedding (up to 170), visit and contact the Diner with more details and the requested date at  www.ellensstardustdiner.com/private-events.  

·         “The Lover’s Lait-Tremblé” Moulin Rouge! The MusicalThemed Milkshake – Also during the month of February, Ellen’s Stardust Diner will introduce a new “rouge” milkshake, complete with strawberry ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, heart-shaped cookies, a chocolate strawberry, and Valentine’s Day sprinkles. Available at $21.

Throughout the month of February, “Stardusters” (i.e. servers) will perform signature songs from the musical including “The Sparkling Diamond,” “Firework,” “Your Song,” “Come What May,” “Chandelier” and many others.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner is open 365 days a year from 7 am to midnight every day.

Joe Germanotta, owner of Joanne Trattoria (70 West 68th), announced that Drag Me To Joanne’s, a free speakeasy drag show, will begin weekly performances commencing on Valentine’s Day (Wednesday, February 14). Hosted by the sensational Juniper Genesis, the show will rotate New York’s best drag artists from week to week (and yes, there will be ample Lady Gaga action).

The only charge is that of your meal – no cover charge for the performance ever.

Joanne Trattoria is the popular, cozy family-owned (by Lady Gaga’s parents, Joe and Cynthia Germanotta) restaurant, located in the Upper West Side.Drag Me To Joanne’s has been a staple here at Joanne Trattoria over the last few months and we’re beyond thrilled to not only make it a weekly show, but a free show,” said Mr. Germanotta. “Where else in this city can you enjoy a terrific free drag show and authentic Italian food?”

Opening night on Wednesday, February 14, Valentine’s Day, will feature performances by special guests MARIYEA and Angel Au. Vidana and Lana Ja’Rae will be the special guests on Wednesday, February 21 while Paloma and Blair Bitch are set to perform on Wednesday. February 28. Doors open every Wednesday at 6pm with performances set to start at 7pm until 9pm. Joanne Trattoria’s full Italian menu will be available during performances.

A one-of-a-kind experience, Drag Me To Joanne’s is the only free weekly speakeasy drag show on the Upper West Side. For reservations, text ‘DRAG’ to 212 721 0068, or click on the OpenTable link here.

Bistro and MAC Hanson Award winning vocalist Lucille Carr-Kaffashan is returning to the brick room at Don’t Tell Mama this winter with a reprise of two shows dedicated to female singer-songwriters.

On Saturday February 17th at 4 pm she will perform Diamonds and Rust, Female Singer-Songwriters of the 1970’s. This show is a tribute to the women who flourished during the golden age of singer-songwriters, and includes songs by Janis Ian, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Melanie Safka, Carole King, and others.

On Saturday March 16 at 4 pm she will perform Unwritten, a Celebration of 21st Century Female Singer-Songwriters, a show for which she received a 2017 Bistro Award. Unwritten features the music of 21st century artists including Adele, Meghan Trainor, Susan Werner, Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves, Sara Bareilles, and others. In contrast with her 1970’s show, Unwritten offers a glimpse into the minds and hearts of contemporary women.

Lucille will be joined by her award-winning band members, music director Jeff Cubeta on piano and back-up vocals, Matt Scharfglass on bass, and Sean Harkness on guitar. David Hilder is the director for these shows, and Kelly Wohlford is the technical director.

Don’t Tell Mama is located at 343 West 46th Street in New York City, between 8th and 9th Avenues. There is a $15 music charge ($5 for MAC members), plus a $20 (must include two drinks) minimum per person at each performance. Cash only is accepted in the cabaret room. Reservations can be made online at donttellmamanyc.com.

 

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Broadway

Patti LuPone Returns to Broadway and The Big Screen

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Three-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone, who gave up her Equity card in 2022, will star opposite Mia Farrow in Jen Silverman’s new play, The Roommate. The production will be directed by Jack O’Brien and will begin previews at the Booth Theatre in August ahead of a September opening.

The Roommate tells the story of Sharon, in her mid-fifties, who is recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her Iowa home. Robyn, also in her mid-fifties, needs a place to hide and a chance to start over. But as Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets, they encourage her own deep-seated desire to transform her life completely. A dark comedy about what it takes to re-route your life – and what happens when the wheels come off.

The Roommate premiered at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville in March 2015, and has had several regional productions including at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2017.

Ms. LuPone will star in the upcoming Marvel series, WandaVision spinoff series Agatha: Coven of Chaos. She’s in a coven of witches, playing Lilia Calderu, who is hot, with a great body and hair. Calderu, first appeared in Marvel comics in 1973 as a 450-year-old Sicilian witch whose power is divination and whose trial is tarot. The other witches are Kathryn Hahn, Aubrey Plaza, and a familiar who is played by Joe Locke. Locke, is currently on Broadway in Sweeney Todd.

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Cabaret Celebrated Broadway Legend Joel Grey’s Birthday

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Last night, Eddie Redmayne currently in previews as the ‘Emcee’ in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club celebrated Broadway legend Joel Grey’s 92ndbirthday on stage at the August Wilson Theatre. Grey, who originated the role of the ‘Emcee’ on Broadway in 1966 and went on to star in the beloved film of Cabaret, took the stage as the entire cast, band, and creative team sang “Happy Birthday” while a custom cake, shaped like a giant pineapple, emerged from the stage.

 During his speech honoring Grey, Eddie Redmayne said, “Tonight is an extraordinarily special night for us because we are in the presence of an extraordinary human being without whom none of us would be here.” After thunderous applause, Redmayne continued “Your performance in this part changed my life and it was one of the things that made me want to be an actor.”

Joel Grey, Gayle Rankin, and Eddie Redmayne Photo by Jenny Anderson

The cast and Grey were also joined on stage by Cabaret composer John Kander.

Alongside Joel’s daughter Jennifer Grey and Kander, a star-studded crowd came out to fete the theater icon including Anderson Cooper, Candice Bergen, Jackie Hoffman, Jane Krakowski, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Rockwell, and more. They were joined by numerous alum of Cabaret spanning the decades including Maude Apatow (Sally Bowles in London, 2023), Madeline Brewer (Sally Bowles in London, 2022), Joely Fisher (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2000), Gina Gershon (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2001), Mason Alexander Park (Emcee in London, 2023), Adam Pascal (Emcee on Broadway, 2003), Molly Ringwald (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2002), Jake Shears (Emcee in London, 2023), and Brooke Shields (Sally Bowles on Broadway, 2001).

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club is now in previews on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street). The production, directed by Olivier Award winner Rebecca Frecknall and designed by Tony Award nominee and Evening Standard Award® winner Tom Scutt, will have decadent twin opening night gala celebrations starting Saturday, April 20 and continuing into the following night, with the official press opening on Sunday, April 21. Tickets are on sale now at www.kitkat.club or via Seat Geek HERE.

In addition to Redmayne, Cabaret also stars Gayle Rankin as the toast of Mayfair ‘Sally Bowles, two-time Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth as ‘Fraulein Schneider,’ Tony Award nominee Ato Blankson-Wood as ‘Clifford Bradshaw,’ Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award® nominee Steven Skybell as ‘Herr Schultz,’ Henry Gottfried as ‘Ernst Ludwig,’ and three-time Helen Hayes Award winner Natascia Diaz as ‘Fritzie/Kost.’

The cast of Cabaret includes Gabi Campo as ‘Frenchie,’ Ayla Ciccone-Burton as ‘Helga,’ Colin Cunliffe as ‘Hans,’ Marty Lauter as ‘Victor,’ Loren Lester as‘Herman/Max,’ David Merino as ‘Lulu,’ Julian Ramos as ‘Bobby,’ MiMi Scardulla as ‘Texas,’ and Paige Smallwood as ‘Rosie.’ Swings include Hannah Florence, Pedro Garza, Christian Kidd, Corinne Munsch, Chloé Nadon-Enriquez, and Karl Skyler Urban.

The Prologue Company, the dancers and musicians that welcome audiences to the club, feature dancers Alaïa, IRON BRYAN, Will Ervin Jr., Sun Kim, Deja McNair and swings Ida Saki and Spencer James Weidie. The musicians of the Prologue are Brian Russell Carey (piano & bass), Francesca Dawis (violin), Keiji Ishiguri (dedicated substitute), Maeve Stier (accordion), and Michael Winograd (clarinet).

For this thrilling production of Cabaret, the creative team have transformed the August Wilson Theatre into the Kit Kat Club with an in-the-round auditorium and custom spaces which guests will be invited to explore during the Prologue, the production’s pre-show entertainment. After purchasing tickets, guests will receive a “club entry time” to allow them to take in the world of the club before the show starts.

Patrons can upgrade their experience at the Kit Kat Club with exclusive dining or drinks packages that allow them to soak up the pre-show atmosphere. These various upgrades offer unparalleled service and unique experiences in the heart of the Kit Kat Club. Drinks can be enjoyed before and during the show, while food will be cleared shortly before the performance begins, ensuring uninterrupted and unmissable views of Cabaret. For a complete menu and more information on the upgrade packages, please visit www.kitkat.club/upgrade.

The 2021 Original London Cast Recording of Cabaret featuring Eddie Redmayne and recorded during a live performance is available on Decca Records as a CD and to stream on all major platforms. To order the album or stream it, please visit https://cabaret.lnk.to/ListenNow

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Stephen Sondheim Memorabilia to be Auctioned Off

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Stephen Sondheim

Doyle Auctioneers & Appraisers has announced the auction of the Collection of Stephen Sondheim on Tuesday, June 18 at 10am EDT. This landmark auction will offer over 200 lots of memorabilia, furnishings, antique puzzles and more from Mr. Sondheim’s Manhattan townhouse and his country home in Roxbury, Connecticut.

Poster for the 2006 Broadway revival of Company signed by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth

The lyricist of West Side Story and Gypsy and composer/lyricist of Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods, among many others, Stephen Sondheim was the twentieth century’s most brilliant and influential contributor to American musical theater. Fans of Mr. Sondheim’s musicals and collectors alike will delight at the memorabilia within the auction, from his gold record for West Side Story to his custom-embroidered asylum coat from Sweeney Todd.

In addition to professional accomplishments, Mr. Sondheim was a sophisticated collector. He lived among antiques and curiosities of the Victorian and Edwardian eras and assembled an unparalleled collection of early puzzles, games, rebuses, coin-operated machines and ephemera that reflected his endlessly inquisitive mind.

The public is invited to the exhibition on view from June 14 through 17 at Doyle, located at 175 East 87th Street in New York. Select highlights will tour Doyle’s regional galleries during the month of May. The auction catalogue will be available on May 20. Learn more about the auction at Doyle.com

 

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Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Pascale Roger-McKeever and Tony Award nominee Austin Pendleton

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“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is  filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. This particular episode was filmed in two parts at different times due to the weather and extenuating circumstances.

 

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Pascale Roger-McKeever and Tony Award nominee Austin Pendleton.
We are so proud because the show and our guests are now featured on the TV screens in the lobby and the hotel rooms.

Austin Pendleton, Suzanna Bowling

Suzanna Bowling, Pascale Roger-McKeever

I am so grateful to my guests Pascale Roger-McKeever and Austin Pendleton. for joining me.

Austin Pendleton, Rommel Gopez, Suzanna Bowling

Rommel Gopez, Suzanna Bowling, Pascale Roger-McKeever

Thank-you Magda Katz for videoing and creating the content to go live, the audience who showed up to support us, Rommel Gopez and The Hotel Edison for their kindness and hospitality.

Austin Pendleton

Suzanna Bowling, Pascale Roger-McKeever, Craig J Horsley

Suzanna Bowling

Pascale Roger-McKeever will be starring in Fingers and Spoons directed by Tony Award nominee Austin Pendleton. Soho Playhouse 15 Vandam Street. starting on April 25th.

Roger Sichel, Austin Pendleton, Rommel Gopez, Suzanna Bowling

You can catch us on the following platforms:

Pandora:

https://www.pandora.com/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/PC:1001084740

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/1084740

Spotify:

Amazon:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/e3ac5922-ada8-4868-b531-12d06e0576d3

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/id1731059092

We hope to see you there on April 17th. We will be announcing our guests tonight.

All photo’s except for the picture with Roger are by Roger Sichel.

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Annette Bening, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Hugh Jackman Introduce Entertainment Community Fund Campaign

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Last night at the Entertainment Community Fund, (formerly The Actors Fund) gala, they announced the $160 million ESSENTIALCampaign: a bold and comprehensive effort that will combine all of the organization’s fundraising, allowing the Fund to serve more people in more places. The campaign will support expanding and sustaining Fund services; growing the Emergency Relief Reserve Fund to allow the Fund to respond immediately to the next crisis that will impact the entertainment community; and support mission-critical capital projects.

Within these tentpoles, specific goals include tripling the number of people the Fund serves; executing an innovative digital engagement strategy that includes the roll-out of a new client portal funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Digital Accelerator Program; reaching more people in additional communities with services such as scholarships, mental health services, insurance and career counseling; complete construction of The Hollywood Arts Collective, a complex in the heart of Hollywood that combines 151 units of affordable housing with an arts building and a new home for the Fund’s Western Region offices; upgrading the Actors Fund Home, an assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation residence for seniors in New Jersey; modernize The Schermerhorn and The Dorothy Ross Friedman affordable housing residences in New York; and creating an Affordable Housing Catalyst Fund to stimulate investment in new projects.

Fundraising for the ESSENTIAL Campaign began in 2022, with contributions already made by individuals, foundations, corporations, unions and guilds. An additional $1.1 million was raised at the gala last night.

Led by Honorary Co-Chairs Annette Bening and Brian Stokes Mitchell, the ESSENTIAL Campaign Committee also includes Co-Chairs Hugh Jackman, Chris Keyser, Kenny Leon, Matthew Loeb, Shonda Rhimes and Robert Wankel. Committee members include Greg Berlanti, Janice Reals Ellig, Robert Greenblatt, David Henry Hwang, Sharon Karmazin, Brooke Kennedy, James L. Nederlander, Ruth Nerken, Laura Penn, David Rambo, Lauren Reid, Kate Shindle, Henry Tisch and Lisa Ann Walter.

This morning, Campaign Co-Chair Hugh Jackman shared this special message in celebration of the public launch that can be viewed

“The Entertainment Community Fund has been a longstanding cornerstone in our industry, lending support and meeting the unique needs of thousands of people. Still, more of our colleagues need help, and it will take all of us to support the transformative ESSENTIAL Campaign and ensure that the Fund reaches as many individuals who need these services as possible,” shared Committee Co-Chair Shonda Rhimes.

Bening and Mitchell added, “As Board Chairs for the Entertainment Community Fund and as Honorary Co-Chairs for the ESSENTIAL Campaign, we are tremendously grateful to everyone who has already supported this fundraising initiative and to those who will help us meet our goal. With significant campaign contributions already distributed to provide much-needed services to our community, the Fund is already impacting the lives of more people in more places.”

For more information and to learn how you can support the ESSENTIAL Campaign, please visit entertainmentcommunity.org/Essential.

In addition to announcing the exciting campaign, the evening celebrated Sonia Friedman CBE, Olivier and Tony Award-winning producer; Seth MacFarlane, Founder, Fuzzy Door and Award-winning writer, actor, director, producer and singer; and Warner Bros. Television Group, Emmy-winning producer of scripted, unscripted and animated programming, as they received the Entertainment Community Fund Medal of Honor.

Special guests, presenters and performers included Kelsey Anderson, Eric Bauza, Michael Evans Behling, Annette Bening, Melissa Benoist, Kola Bokinni, Holly Ann Butler, John Cardoza, Corey Cott, Hannah Cruz, Stephen Daldry, Cristo Fernández, Maria Friedman, Drew Gehling, Liz Gillies, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Hawley Gould, Joey Graziadei, Bonita Hamilton, Shanola Hampton, Brian d’Arcy James, Leslie Rodriguez Kreitzer, McKenzie Kurtz, Camryn Manheim, Julia Mattison, Allyson Tucker Mitchell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Katherine Oliver, Greta Onieogou, Cassadee Pope, Dennis Stowe, L. Steven Taylor, Ryan Vasquez,Joy Woods, Chip Zien and more.

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