Posters and Paintings in my Room

In my room at college, I have posters of Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and Pippin and two paintings with quotes from Les Mis. I love all four musicals and they all bring something unique to the musical world. In this post I will talk about why I love each of these musicals.

Wicked- this was the musical of the four that I have loved the longest. It has been part of my for eleven years and was the first musical I saw on Broadway. Everything about this musical feels Ozian. The dancing, the spectacle, the songs, character names all feel Ozian. Now I love the musical for the dance, spectacle, songs, characters, and story. The center core of Wicked is friendship, which is between Elphaba and Glinda and then on top of that there is the complex, mature, and strong love triangle where the two best friends are involved, who are both in love with Fiyero. These three characters are the characters I find the biggest emotional connection to.

I have such a strong emotional connection to Wicked. I began to understand the emotional nature through Wicked. So Wicked has changed me for the better and sparked my love for musicals.

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Phantom of the Opera- I first heard the songs in 2013, but did not see the musical until 2014. I find this musical to be both haunting and beautiful. The plot is basically a dark and mysterious and beautiful love triangle between the Phantom, Raoul, and Christine. Its songs are gorgeous and is spellbinding and when I saw it for the first time, I was choked up. Raoul and Christine make up such a beautiful couple, which is part of the reason why I love both of them. What makes the Phantom so interesting is that he is so mysterious and dark.

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Pippin- I first saw this musical two years ago. It was “Corner of the Sky” that got me interested in seeing the musical. This musical uses circus elements for the spectacle and that is one reason why it is unique. Like Wicked, it is a Stephen Swartz musical so it has an incredible score. Its antagonist, the Leading Player, is the narrator of the piece, which is interesting and she is such an intriguing characters because she is so crafty, manipulative, dark and at times playful. She is even more intriguing then the protagonist, Pippin, who is trying to find where he belongs.

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Les Mis- there is lots to say when it comes to this musical, which would turn my love of musicals into a passion. Les Mis taught me that tragic musicals exist and yes, I already discovered the emotion of sad before Les Mis, but this musical brought me to the emotion of heartbreak. It has an emotional nature that is so powerful that it is so hard to describe its capability level. This story feels so human so I find the center core of this musical to be about humanity. Its score is brilliant and well-crafted and reduces me to tears. Its characters are so complex and incredible, which range from the ex-convict and compassionate Jean Valjean, the obsessive and strict Javert, the loving and tragic Fantine, the innocent Cosette, the sweet, revolutionary and romantic Marius, the brave and loyal Eponine, the greedy and neglectful Thenardiers, and the passionate Enjolras . There are so many ways I love this musical.

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But what do all four of these have in common? For starters, the most obvious is that they have songs I love, which is the first step to loving a musical. Found within the story is a romance aspects-only one of them does not have a love triangle, which is Pippin. They all share the emotions of excitement, love, and joy. It is amazing how varied their plots and characters and songs are. One of them has a score that feel Ozian, one has a score that is so haunting and beautiful and the other one has a passionate, epic and powerful score.

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Describing Musical Soundtracks

Today, I decided to describe some of my favorite musical soundtracks.

  1. Les Mis- revolutionary, passionate, epic, heart-renching
  2. Wicked- fun, exciting, Ozian
  3. Sound of Music- exciting, heartwarming
  4. Newsies- passionate, exciting, fun
  5. Beauty and the Beast- fun, exciting, magical, romantic, heartwarming
  6. South Pacific- exciting, romantic
  7. Pippin- exciting
  8. Man of La Mancha- hispanic-sounding
  9. Annie- exciting, optimistic
  10. Music Man- fun, exciting, light-hearted
  11. Phantom of the Opera- haunting, romantic, beautiful
  12. Rent- life
  13. Grease- exciting, fun

How would you describe some of your favorite musical soundtracks? Are the words I picked accurate?

Favorite Openings in Musicals

These are some of my favorite openings in musicals.

Wicked- I love this opening because the dragon on the set breathes fire and the monkeys start the show, which quickly transport you to OZ. The monkeys open up the curtain.

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Les Mis- what makes this a wonderful opening is its overture leading up to the action. When I saw Les Mis in the West End, all it took was hearing the first couple of notes to get invested in the story. The opening notes of Les Mis are what makes this opening wonderful

Newsies- the opening is wonderful due to a wonderful overture. The opening scene is what really makes it memorable. You are introduced to Jack Kelly, the main character and leader of the Newsies. You learn of his close bond to Crutchie, who has a bum leg. Jack’s relationship to Crtuchie is how you quickly get emotionally bonded to the plot

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Pippin- the opening of the reveal of Pippin is one of the best ever. At the beginning, there is an illusion of the leader player in the curtain and she just appears and acts as the narrator of the musical. So the moment the curtain drops, you automatically become wowed by all of the circus elements you are seeing.

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Phantom of the Opera- the opening for me begins after the auction scene at the beginning. The overture is so beautiful and I just couldn’t take my eyes of the chandelier for the entire overture. It happened three years ago and I was spellbound by the time the overture started.

What are your favorite openings in musicals?

Possible Top Ten Musical List (More Like Eleven Musicals)

This is a list of my top ten musicals, which actually consists of eleven musicals in a way since the top spot consists of not one, but two musicals. Another thing to note it they may not necessarily may not be in the right order.

First up is Wicked/Les Mis- why am I putting two musicals at the top? Both Wicked and Les Mis are not just musicals. Wicked is that musical that carries my vision of musicals nicely. It is home to spectacle and dance, comic moments, positive and negative emotions (home to all five main core emotions of excitement, love, joy, sad, and heartbreak) and has a strong emotional bond. My favorite characters are Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero,who create a very complicated love triangle and Glinda and Elphaba become best friends. I have a personal bond with Elphaba and she is my favorite musical character. Like me, she is smart, determined, talkative, big-hearted, unique, and believes in equality and staying true in herself. Wicked first entered my life in 2006 at age 12 when I first saw Wicked on Broadway and I am glad that the musical has changed me for the better. Wicked sparked my love for musicals.

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Les Mis on the other hand began its journey December of 2012 through the musical movie, but I did not see something special about Les Mis until I gave it a second chance the following year. In 2013, it was the same year I saw the stage show for the first time and developed an obsession for Les Mis. In 2013, I started to dream about seeing the show in London and two years later that dream became reality and in 2015, I also read the unabridged book.

What makes Les Mis so special that makes it tie with a musical? Les Mis carries my vision of musicals very closely, but the one thing that it is missing is dance or spectacle. Les Mis is so powerful and emotional and inspirational and despite heartbreaking comes with this incredible underlying spirituality. It has these wonderfully written characters and you learn to care about them. Because of how powerful and emotional Les Mis is, the lack of spectacle and dance is made up for.

Second belongs to Annie. The reason why Annie belongs in the second spot is because at one point, Annie was my favorite musical. Before I saw Wicked on Broadway, Annie was my favorite musical. I still feel like a kid whenever I watch the 1982 movie and when I saw the stage show three years ago, I felt like a kid as well. I always loved Annie due to her optimism and spirit. My favorite song from the show is “Tomorrow”.

Third for now belongs to Sound of Music. I have loved Sound of Music since elementary school. It is my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. It has wonderful songs such as “Do Re Mi”, “My Favorite Things”, “Something Good”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”, “Climb Every Mountain” and “Edelweiss”. Both Annie and Sound of Music have been part of my life for about almost as long. They both have been loved since elementary school and they still have meaning behind them.

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Fourth belongs to Rent. It has already proven to be a meaningful musical. Its message is incredible. It is about a group of friends in their life in a year in the face of fear. Their message is to live your life in the moment and to measure your life in love. It has already proven to belong in my list of my top ten favorite musicals. I first fell in love with this musical five years ago in the Fall. This year in September, I will be seeing Rent with my parents and I am so excited.

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….The ones beneath may not be in the right order or may not always be in the top ten…

Fifth belongs to Newsies. I saw this musical just last August and this musical has already proven to be meaningful and does prove to be in the top ten somewhere. This musical is based of the real Newsboy strike of 1899. When Joseph Pulitizer raised the price of newspapers, the Newsies wouldn’t take it and went on strike and stood up for what they believed in. In the fictional story, the leader of this strike is Jack Kelly and he has a close bond to Crutchie and all the Newsies are like this one big family. Katherine Plubmer ends up writing the newspaper article for the strike and she and Jack Kelly fall in love

This musical is full of mind-blowing dance. The boys are basically doing flips, tap dancing, ballet, jumping high up in the air, dancing on newspapers and other fun tricks.

Sixth possibly could be Beauty and the Beast. I first saw Beauty and the Beast in elementary school, the animated movie and the stage show, but the only thing I remember was the song “Beauty and the Beast”. But seeing the 2017 live movie brought back my love for Beauty and the Beast again. My favorite characters are Beast and Belle. I love its songs such as “Something There”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Belle”, “Be Our Guest”, and the new movie’s “Evermore”. I love how Beauty and the Beast teaches you that beauty comes from within.

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Seventh or somewhere in my top ten would be Pippin. I first got interested in Pippin when my dad had me listen to “Corner of the Sky”. I automatically wanted to see the stage show. Then in 2015 in May, just one week before seeing the stage show, mom got me tickets and there was one day left with seats together. Seeing Pippin felt like I was at the circus. It was my first time seeing Pippin and I had an understudy for Pippin and the Leading Player and I remember being more intrigued by the Leading Player’s portrayal even though she was the antagonist.

At one moment in the show, Pippin’s grandma, which was during “No Time At All” asked us to sing along to the chorus and I loved how we got to interact  like that. In “Magic to Do”, I loved how it set up the show, which started with an illusion and I was in awe when the circus tent dropped.

Eighth spot I am just putting for now is Phantom of the Opera. At one point, this musical was tied with Les Mis and Wicked. It was only tied for about a year, which was from the time I saw it in Greenville up until July 30th, 2015. When I saw Les Mis at the Queens Theatre, it made Phantom of the Opera slide off that top spot. I realized just how much more I loved Les Mis’ plot and songs and characters. To be honest, I still really love Phantom of the Opera. True it belongs higher up on this list, but sometimes a musical belongs higher than another.

To describe this musical as a whole, I would describe it as a love triangle. In the musical, I view Christine as the protagonist and I view the Phantom as the antagonist and in my opinion, I don’t think Christine ever falls in love with the Phantom. I just love how hauntingly beautiful Phantom of the Opera is.

Hanging at ninth South Pacific is the second best Rodgers and Hammerstein musical in my opinion. It focuses on the idea of interracial marriage and racism and deals with two relationships mainly dealing with the one between Emelie and Nellie. It has memorable songs such as “There is Nothing like a Dame”, “Younger Than Springtime”, “Honey Bun”, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”, and “Some Enchanted Evening”.

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Tenth for now, which like some of the others may not in right spot is Music Man. I first discovered Music Man through Pandora maybe in 2012, but I did not see the stage show until 2015. I loved seeing the stage show at my school and I love Music Man due to how light-hearted and happy it is. I love songs such as “Ya Got Trouble”, “Goodnight My Someone” and “Seventy Six Trombones”.

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To be honest, this isn’t a fully accurate top ten musical list. I am true in Les Mis/Wicked being tied with #1 through. I also have a point with having Annie right beneath the two and then Sound of Music beneath them.

 

 

 

Musicals I Fell in Love With through the Stage Show

The past two days, I talked about musicals I fell in love with through the music and the movie. But today, I will talk about the musical I fell in love with through the stage version. Seeing a musical live is the best to experience a musical.

First up is Newsies. Yes, before I saw Newsies I had listened to four of the songs through Pandora, but that didn’t make me fall in love with the stage show. But it still was enough to convince me to see the stage show. After hearing it had Tony winning choreography, I was looking forward to seeing Newsies more. I saw this musical in August of last year.

I found my emotional connection very quickly. It first showed between the relationship between Jack and Crutchie and strengthened into the bond found between all the Newsies. The story was so inspiring. The fact that these underdogs: these newsboys stood up to Pulitzer and actually won makes up a wonderful story. The dancing blew me away and they were jumping high up in the air, flipping, tumbling, tap, ballet, dancing on newspapers, jumping over each other, and other fancy moves was fun to watch.

“Courage cannot erase our fear. Courage is when we face our fear”.

Pippin was a musical that I wanted to see after dad had me listen to “Corner of the Sky”. I automatically fell in love with the song and purposely did not look up the other songs. It came to Charlotte twice: the first time (that was like in 2014 or 2013), I never got to see it. But in 2015, my mom took me to see Pippin. Surprisingly, mom got tickets the week before and there was only day left with seats together and those seats happened to be five rows back from the stage.

Pippin is a circus natured,  Stephen-Swarthz, Tony Award winning musical. Pippin is the tale of a young prince looking for his “corner of the sky”, which is the place where he belongs. The Leading Player is the narrator of this tale, but is the antagonist of the story, but keeps on leading Pippin in the wrong direction, but the audience and Pippin doesn’t realize it until the end of the musical. At one point in the musical, were asked to sing along and that was fun. Literally after just one act, I asked my mom to buy me the cd and I hand’t even heard the second act songs yet and that just shows how wonderful Pippin is.

Another Stephen Swartz musical I feel in love with through the stage show is Wicked. I first experienced Wicked in New York with my mom as a 12 year old in 2006 and my love for it has grown ever since. Wicked has everything I want in a musical. It has the spectacle and dance, the comedy, the strong emotional connection,  and positive and negative emotions in the songs. I honestly cannot fully describe the impact that Wicked has had on my life.

Since New York, I am seen Wicked three other times and each time my vulnerability level increases. One of those times was in 2013 and I saw it with my dad and the tallest guy in the auditorium sat it front of me and my dad (despite it being his first time seeing it) gave me the better seat . The fourth time being January of 2016, I saw with Gardner Webb and because it was a school that changed me for the better, it affected how I viewed Wicked and I also came in knowing that “I’m Not That Girl” is a heartbreaking song thanks to help of “On My Own”. But funny story: my group came out at the end of Wicked and the bus we arrived on was broken down.

Wicked was key to the musical fan I am today. Wicked sparked my love for musicals. It was the musical where I began to understand the emotional side of musicals I began to understand the negative emotions through that musical. In my opinion, it is much easier to understand the positive emotions than the negative emotions. Each time I see Wicked, I still approach it as a 12 year old, but it has the emotional depth of a college student. My favorite song from Wicked is “Popular” because I remember it being my favorite song from Wicked as a 12 year old.

Elphaba is quite a special character and the same is true for Glinda and Fiyero. But I understand Elphaba more than those two characters. I relate so well to Elphaba and she is my favorite musical character. Like her, I am determined, smart, big-hearted, unique, talkative, and I believe in equality and staying true to myself. Glinda and Fiyero play an important role in her life. Glinda becomes her best friend and Fiyero becomes the boy she falls in love with. Elphaba, Glinda, and Fiyero always tend to be the characters that come to mind the most whenever Wicked comes to mind and they are my favorite characters in the musical. Boy, the love triangle in Wicked is so complicated and the most complex of all musicals.

What are musicals you feel in love with initially through the stage versions? What made you love that musical?

My Vision of Musicals

Everyone has a vision of what they want from a musical.  My vision of musicals was created while I was growing up. I grew up watching movie musicals like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Grease, Sound of Music, and Annie. I even grew up seeing musicals in the theatre and those musicals included things like Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Wicked. So below I will take about what I expect from a musical.

First things first is the songs. I want to be connected to the songs. The songs are key to any musical. I want to love the songs. The main emotions come through the songs. I want songs to be memorable and emotional. I want the songs to feel like they belong in the musical they are in. Growing up, there was one type of song that I commonly associated with musical and those are the songs that tend to start out slow and eventually slow up. I even look for love songs and sad songs.

Next thing belongs to the characters. No matter what they are going through, I want to care about their journeys. The characters make me love the songs even more. Just like the songs, I want the characters to be memorable. I want the characters to be complex and strong. I want the characters to feel real. I also look for relatability, but if I can’t relate to the character, I look for something that makes them stand out.

Next thing belongs to the plot. Just like the characters, I want the plot to be complex, strong, and relatable. I tend to look for multiple storylines. I want there to be a certain amount of conflict. Conflict plays a key role in the emotions. Conflict affects whether or not the songs have just positive emotions or if the songs have a combination of positive and negative emotions.

When it comes to all three, I want to be emotionally connected. I want my emotional connection to be strong enough to truly care about the different character’s emotions. When it comes to the negative emotions, I want those songs to have vulnerability, fragility, and beauty. I only can seem to love feeling the negative emotions if my emotional connection to the songs, characters, and story are strong enough.

Another part of my vision has to do with comedy. Growing up, I wanted a musical to be happy or a comedy itself. Now that I am older and know that tragic musicals exist, I look at the aspect of comedy very differently. I want some comic aspect in a musical.

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My vision also includes spectacle and dance. Just like songs, the spectacle and dance add to the experience. Dance in my opinion is an example of spectacle. Those two elements make an experience unique. Sometimes spectacle helps with believability because they can help you believe in settings such as the land of OZ, an enchanted castle, or the wilds of Africa. But not all musicals have spectacle and dance.

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Overall, what I am really looking for is the emotional connection. Recently I discovered that I can still fall in love with a musical without the dance or spectacle. When that happens, I want the emotional connection to be strong enough to make up for the loss of spectacle and dance. So the emotional connection is really the key to falling in love with a musical. So what I want really is a strong score, memorable and complex characters, and a complex and strong plot. However, spectacle and dance is still part of my vision when it comes to musicals.

Some of the best plots and songs tend to be quite powerful. I want the positive and negative emotions to be a part of the show. It sounds crazy that I want to feel the negative emotions in the songs, but it really works even though they can hurt. I tend to love the negative emotions the most when they are beyond the mild world.

What is your vision of a musical?

Meaningful Musicals of 2012-2016

Today’s post will be dedicated to the meaningful musicals from 2012-2017. Those are the musical I refer to the college musicals. All of those musicals are still so fresh in my life. The meaningful musicals of that time period are Rent, Les Mis, Pippin, Phantom of the Opera, South Pacific and Newsies though there might be a few more.

I learned to love Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, and Rent around the same time period. My journey with Rent begin in Fall of 2012 and it became meaningful before knowing what the musical is about. My journey with Les Mis began in December of 2012 though I didn’t became a true fan until Spring of 2013. I fell in love with Phantom of the Opera in Winter of 2013. I can easily explain why Les Mis and Rent are meaningful, but cannot fully explain why Phantom of the Opera is on the meaningful list.

Les Mis is a musical that literally changed musicals forever. Coming into the movie, I was a bit unsure if I would like the movie or not. Even after the movie ended, I still did not know if I liked it or not. But something must have hit a chord in me since I automatically started researching the musical afterwards. The first time I watched it being quite confused and shocked since I didn’t know it was going to be a tragedy. I labeled the musical as too depressing and did not see the true beauty of the musical.

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I am so glad I saw that movie a second time. I was able to calm down and was able to realize that there is something special about Les Mis. I wanted to know why such a heartbreaking musical always uplifted me. I dug deeper until I found the answer. In spite of all the heartbreak, misery, and death, Les Mis is ultimately a tale of hope, compassion, love (existing in many forms), forgiveness, humanity, sacrifice, and redemption. With Les Mis, I was able to explore musical emotions in a fresh light.

Before I had no clue that heartbreak was a musical emotion. I was able to finally understand what it meant for a song to be heartbreaking. I learned that tragedy is not pure sad like I once believed. I realized musical emotions had more potential than I once believed. Before Les MIs, I was a fan of musicals, but no where close to being a musical fanatic. I could go on and on about why Les Mis is meaningful.

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This sounds ironic, but Les Mis wasn’t the first sad musical I ever loved. It was Rent due to falling in love with it before seeing the Les Mis movie for the first time. But I didn’t know Rent was sad until months after I had already fallen in love with it.  Rent is such a meaningful musical due to its message. Because of Rent, I learned the importance of living in the moment and living your lives in love and reminded me of how precious life is. Yes, the musical is very mature and adult and controversial, but it does show that this is what happens in life sometimes. Like Les Mis, Rent is also sad, but at the same time inspiring. Both have incredible messages and both are way more than the sadness that they present. I will finally be seeing the stage show

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Pippin is another meaningful musical. I don’t know exactly why it is meaningful. Pippin had a kind of spectacle that I had never seen before. It made spectacle look fresh by turning the show into a circus. Pippin has a very universal message due to Pippin trying to discover his corner of the sky, which is where he belongs. But he kept on making wrong decisions, but never realized it until the end. I remember being so intrigued by the leading player’s protyral and though I didn’t like the character, I truly believed in her.  At one moment in “No Time At All” the audience was able to sing along.

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Newsies is the most recent musical that became meaningful to me. I experienced it for the first time in August of 2016. I was familiar with four of its songs and knew there was Tony Award winning choreography. Knowing that the choreography won a Tony Award, it made me look very forward to seeing the dance. My emotional connection with Newsies began in the very first scene and that is always a good sign. I automatically fell in love with Jack Kelly and Crutchie and I just love the close bond they have and it is quite intimate. I also love the relationship between all the Newsies and they are like this one big family.

The fact that this story is based off the actual Newsboy Strike is amazing to me. The fact that these Newsies stood up to Joseph Pulitizer after raising their price of papers is so inspiring. They went on strike to make a point and that took a lot of courage. One lyric that I have close to heart is from “Seize the Day”, which is “Courage cannot erase our fear. courage is when we face of fear”. This musical showed the importance of courage when facing your fears. The dancing was mind-blowing to be and to me was worth the price of the ticket alone.

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Phantom of the Opera is a musical I fell in love with in a similar way that I fell in love with Rent. Just like Rent, I fell in love with it by listening to the songs through Pandora. That means I feel in love with Phantom of the Opera before knowing the show is about. I don’t know why this musical is meaningful. This musical is hauntingly beautiful. I feel like even the kind of score Phantom of the Opera has is rare. All of this songs are slow-paced and usually there is some fast-paced song in a musical or one with a high level of energy. But Phantom of the Opera doesn’t display a single one.

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There is also South Pacific. It has become meaningful. I first saw the movie in 2014 when musical movies were learnt to my family when school was cancelled due to snow and South Pacific happened to be one of them. It has a very romantic feeling to it especially during “Some Enchanted Evening”. It focuses on two romances and one is tragic while the other is not, but easily could have been. The romance between Liat and Joe Cable doesn’t end too well and that plot is only a sub-plot. Than there is the main romance between Emelie and Nellie, which almost didn’t work out but in the end it does. Even I don’t know why this musical is meaningful.

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