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Topic Started: Mar 12 2009, 12:40 PM (1,004 Views)
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Season Ticket appeal for the Kimmel Center Series is starting. Grease and Taylor get top billing ( maybe that 's because they are the first show , but I prefer to think that it is because it is the best show )

Kimmel Center & Shubert Org Announces 2009-10 Lineup

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Thursday, March 12, 2009; Posted: 10:03 AM - by BWW News Desk

The Kimmel Center and Shubert Organization are thrilled to announce a top-notch lineup of Broadway theater as part of the new 2009-2010 Broadway Series at the Academy of Music and the Forrest Theatre.

The new Broadway Series subscription season will feature: Grease starring American Idol Winner Taylor Hicks (July 7 - 12, 2009); White Christmas (Nov. 24 - 29, 2009); Dreamgirls (June 22 - 27, 2010) all at the Academy of Music; and August: Osage County (April 27 - May 2, 2010) at the Forrest Theatre.

Additional '09 - '10 shows will include: Mamma Mia! (Nov. 3 - 8, 2009); Wicked (Jan. 6 - 24, 2010); Disney's The Lion King (March 30 - April 4, 2010); and Avenue Q (June 18 - 20, 2010).

Subscription packages are on sale now by calling 215-893-1955 or online at Single tickets will go on sale August 2009.

"Every year we strive to provide a high-quality blend of the very best in Broadway entertainment," said Kimmel Center President and CEO Anne Ewers. "The response we receive from our subscribers and the musical theater community is always amazing. We are grateful for the continued support and enthusiasm from musical theater fans throughout the Philadelphia area, and we look forward to launching another incredible season of spectacular Broadway touring productions."

"The continued popularity and success of our Broadway Series, and the overwhelmingly positive response to all of our productions is a credit to the Philadelphia theater-buying public," said Philip J. Smith, Chairman of the Shubert Organization, Inc. "We are ecstatic to once again offer our patrons a stellar variety of musicals and award-winning productions at both the Forrest Theatre and the Academy of Music."

For nearly 40 years, Grease (July 7 - 12, 2009) has remained one of the world's most popular musicals. Now Sandy, Danny, Rizzo and the gang from Rydell High hand-jive their way to Philadelphia's Academy of Music to launch the new Broadway subscription season with this new production direct from Broadway. This unique production, born out of NBC's landmark reality show, "Grease: You're The One That I Want," will star American Idol Winner Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel. Hicks achieved widespread fame in 2006 as a contestant on the hugely successful FOX singing competition "American Idol." On May 24, 2006, Hicks was named the winner of the fifth season of "Idol" with over 63.4 million votes in total during the live finale, which aired to a worldwide audience of over 200 million viewers.

TIME magazine's 2007 pick for "#1 musical of the year" is directed and choreographed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Kathleen Marshall (The Pajama Game). This updated version of the show features songs from the smash hit 1978 movie including "Hopelessly Devoted to You," "Grease" and "You're the One That I Want," in addition to the songs made famous by the original stage production, including "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightnin'" and "We Go Together."
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Philadelphia's Kimmel Center Announces 2009-2010 Season By: Brian Scott Lipton · Mar 12, 2009 · Philadelphia

Taylor Hicks in Grease
(© Larry Busocca/Getty)
Philadelphia's Kimmel Center has announced its offerings for the 2009-2010 season.

Its "Broadway Series," co-presented by the Shubert Organization at the Academy of Music and the Forrest Theatre, will feature the national tour of Grease starring Taylor Hicks (July 7-12), Mamma Mia! (November 3-8), White Christmas (November 24-29), Wicked (January 6-24), The Lion King (March 30-April 4), August: Osage County (April 7-May 2); Avenue Q (June 18-20); and Dreamgirls (June 22-27).

In addition, the Kimmel will present the Curtis Opera Theatre's production of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra (March 17, 19, and 21) and Robert Lepage's The Andersen Project (June 11-June 13 at the Merriam Theater), starring French-Canadian actor Yves Jacques.

Among the many other scheduled performers are Sonny Rollins (September 25); Lizz Wright and the Danilo Perez Trio (October 10); Christian McBride and Bruce Hornsby (October 16); Andre Watts (November 1); Kronos Quartet (November 7); Phildanco (November 12-15, April 15-28); Kurt Elling (November 21); The Vienna Boys Choir (December 4); Sheila Jordan (December 5); Sweet Honey in the Rock (February 6); Cameron Carpenter (March 6); Chanticleer (April 7); Cherryholmes (April 23); and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (May 14-15).
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Cute, cute blog entry

June 18th, 2009
Grease @ The Academy of Music: July 7th - 19th
Posted by James Scarpella
tagged as Avenue of the Arts Theatre

Attention all you pink ladies and T-Bird wannabes, the Tony award winning classic, Grease is set to premier for a limited, two-week engagement at the Academy of Music in July. So grab your hair gel and leather jackets because tickets are selling fast!

The new Broadway production stars the very talented Taylor Hicks as Teen Angel – the imaginary dream man to a certain confused and somewhat perplexed Frenchie (one of my favorite characters), who struggles with the idea of attending beauty school.

But, more about Mr. Hicks; you will probably remember him from American Idol fame, as winner and front runner from seasons past. And now his talented voice has landed him a gig right here in our fair city! He was no American Idol dropout.
Tickets for the first Broadway Series production of the 2009-2010 season are currently on sale and range in price from $25 to $75 with a limited number of VIP premium seats available for $100. Tickets can be purchased at the Kimmel Center box office on Broad and Spruce streets (open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM) or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad and Locust streets (open during performances only). Groups of 15 or more will receive discounts for select performances.

Performances run Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30 PM; Friday and Saturday Evenings at 8 PM and Sunday evenings at 6:30 PM; matinées on Saturdays begin at 2 PM and 1 PM on Sundays. Get ready to hand jive because it’s going to be a rockin’ good time.

Kimmel Center
260 S. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 893-1999
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Former American Idol winner stars in Broadway production at the Kimmel Center
Taylor Hicks stars in Broadway production of Grease
Published: Thursday, July 2, 2009

By Sally Friedman

Special to The Mercury

He is surprisingly shy. It comes through the long distance phone wires in his hesitant speaking style and his long pauses.

Taylor Hicks may have been "American Idol, Year Five," but he is surely not arrogant or self-important.

The "country boy" with the hefty voice will be landing on stage in Philadelphia in the iconic musical "Grease," from July 7 to July 19, as part of the national tour, after debuting on Broadway in the role of Teen Angel.

"It's wonderful - I love the show, I love the role, but I can't say that I love the travel," said Hicks, whose life changed drastically when he swept the "American Idol" title. "I certainly understand why Susan Boyle felt totally overwhelmed from the experience. That's what it is - overwhelming."

It was May 24, 2006, when Hicks made his fellow Alabamans proud. As his self-named 'Soul Patrol" fans watched, he took the coveted title before a TV audience of 36 million viewers.

The son of divorced parents, Hicks credits his grandmother with inspiring him and encouraging him. The singing, he explains, was self-taught and "just always there." And soul music nourished him.

A twist of fate landed Hicks an audition on "American Idol." Seems he was caught in the crisis of Katrina and sidelined from a flight. A voucher he received allowed him to fly to Las Vegas for an AI audition, and the rest is show biz history.

The fame and fortune of the hit TV show has led to a debut album that went silver, gigs with the likes of the Allman Brothers and Willie Nelson, and international tours.

Hicks, whose prematurely gray hair has attracted its share of attention, also has written a memoir, and this year, released a new album, "The Distance," with 11 tracks. He is

enormously proud of the album and its technical fine-tuning, especially its saxophone subtones.

But for now, it's "Grease" that's center-stage in his life. "I thought very carefully before accepting anything in theater," he explained in a recent interview. "I wanted to make sure it was right for me. I'd been offered roles before, but I knew I wanted something that would truly give me the Broadway experience."

As it turns out, Hicks is more than satisfied with the fit. "It works," he said. "It's a new experience, and I'm learning all the time."

The beloved show, which chronicles teen life at Rydell High, was revived on Broadway, for the first time, featuring some of the songs from the 1978 film, including the hit "Sandy."

Even for Taylor Hicks, who had toured with the AI shows, the pace is still grueling. "There's so much more going on in this live production - it has a lot of moving parts."

As to the role of Teen Angel, Hicks was determined to make it his own. "I really didn't want to borrow from Frankie Avalon, who played it in the movie. I think a lot before I do anything, and I needed to 'Taylorize' the role."

Part of the fun was in designing his own costume, a not-too-quiet midnight blue sequined suit. "It definitely makes a statement," Hicks said wryly.

Hicks also reappears on stage in a special post-show performance of one of the songs from his new album, an added attraction for Hicks groupies.

The man who wowed the world with his voice and musical style admits to one yearning. "I haven't had a permanent address since 2006, and when this tour is over in June 2010, one of the first things I'm going to do is settle into a home. While I love what I'm doing, and I'm proud to put myself out there, everybody needs someplace to come home to."

"Grease" runs at the Academy of Music from July 7 to July 19. Tickets are $25-$75. Phone: 215-731-3333. Online at

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I really liked the Sally Friedman article!
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Yes, RagsQueen, this is a nice article. I'm glad to hear that Taylor is going to "settle" into a home after this tour. It's nice to have some roots. I imagine he has had enough travel for a while...even for a road warrior like himself.
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From 'Idol' to Teen Angel: 'Grease' is the New Word for Singer Taylor Hicks

July 04, 2009
By John J. Moser, The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.
Jul. 4--It may not seem that far a step from idol of teenagers to Teen Angel.

But when the former is "American Idol," the massively successful Fox-TV show, and the latter is the elder statesman role in the musical "Grease," there seems few personalities that could fill both.

Except Taylor Hicks.

The gray-haired, blue-eyed-soul-singing Hicks became the most unlikely, and oldest, "American Idol" in 2006. Then a year ago, he traded solo tours for Broadway.

Now he's back on the road with the national touring company of "Grease," which opens Tuesday at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

But Hicks continues to have a foot in both worlds. Not only does he put his stamp on the Teen Angel role -- playing harmonica, for example -- but after each night's curtain call he returns to the stage to perform a song from his new album "The Distance." Most recently it's been his current single, "Seven Mile Breakdown."

"It's a very cutting-edge way and new way of an artist releasing an album," Hicks says in a recent telephone call from Deerborn, Mich., the show's last stop before Philly. "To be able to have a role and then to also be allowed to perform the single off of a brand new record within the Broadway show, it's a wonderful opportunity and a great way to set up a record."

Hicks is one of many "Idol" contestants to hit Broadway. Fantasia Barrino, the 2005 winner, was in "The Color Purple." Clay Aiken, 2003 runner-up, was in " Spamalot." And Constantine Maroulis, who placed sixth in 2005, is currently starring in " Rock of Ages," for which he was nominated for a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.

Hicks' "Idol" single, "Do I Make You Proud?" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and his self-titled debut album hit No. 2. But he has since sold the least records of any "Idol" winner and has the only debut disc not to sell a million copies, according to Soundscan. Forbes magazine puts his earnings in the past two years behind those of two of his runners-up, Chris Daughtry and Kellie Pickler.

Hicks says "American Idol" was "a wonderful platform and a wonderful show. It's allowed me to, luckily, stay working as a entertainer."

But even he seems to recognize the "Idol" brand was an ill fit. A year after his first album, he parted ways with Arista.

"I think there was no question that I had vision of who I wanted to be and they were completely OK with that," Hicks says. "So it was definitely a mutual split. It taught me a lot about the recording process, the in's and out's of the business."

Hicks started his own label, Modern Whomp, and released "Early Works," a compilation of two pre-"Idol" self-released discs, before he joined "Grease" in June 2008.

Hicks says playing Teen Angel, a small but pivotal role, was perfect for his introduction to musical theater.

"I wanted to make sure that the role I took was a good starting place to actually get accustomed to musical theater and Broadway. I just wanted to start small and get bigger."

The role also had a history of being filled by big names -- Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Al Jarreau, Davy Jones.

On March 10, Hicks released his first album of new material on his new label, "The Distance," a collection that continues his focus on soul, but adds rock and even country.

"Definitely my influences are the blues and soul, but there's no question that I'm deeper. I mean, my base root was Ray Charles, but my outer root system goes into ['50s country singer] Lefty Frizzell," he says, laughing. "Being from Alabama and playing a lot of roadhouse shows, there's no question there's a country element with my music."

"The Distance" has performed well, if not up to "Idol" standards. It debuted at No. 58 on Billboard and No. 5 on the Top Independent Albums chart. "What's Right Is Right," the first single," hit No. 24 on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks.

"There have been people that tell me that you have to live with the songs that you sing and record for the rest of your life, and I just wanted to make sure," he says. "This album allows me to do that."

Hicks says his plan is to do "Grease" for 18 months -- his contract runs through June 2010 -- then do a solo tour.

"For me, it's a marathon, not a sprint, in my career," he says. "I'm streamlining my career and my brand to what exactly is Taylor Hicks. What's going to ultimately carry me through a lengthy career in this business is people really understanding who I am."

Asked whether it bothers him that people may now answer that question by saying he's the least successful "Idol" winner ever, Hicks scoffs.

"Here's my quote to that," he says. "What is the idea of successful? That's my question. What is the measuring stick?

"I think it's funny -- they're going to be calling me that in 10 years, but my name's going to still be in the paper. And that is the ultimate, is the longevity. If they're still saying that about me in the papers, then I must be doing something right." POSTED IN THE CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE
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(Asked whether it bothers him that people may now answer that question by saying he's the least successful "Idol" winner ever, Hicks scoffs.

"Here's my quote to that," he says. "What is the idea of successful? That's my question. What is the measuring stick?

"I think it's funny -- they're going to be calling me that in 10 years, but my name's going to still be in the paper. And that is the ultimate, is the longevity. If they're still saying that about me in the papers, then I must be doing something right.")

You're Absolutely Correct Taylor! :thumbsup The $$$ is only a fragment of what 'Success' is about. Are you happy in what you do? ~ Do you feel driven to improve what you do? ~ Are you producing adequate cash flow to continue what you're doing? ~ Are people still bringing your name into conversation? ~ Do you feel fulfilled?
:music note "Success ~ Meet Taylor Hicks!" :music note

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Jul 4 2009, 09:34 PM
You're Absolutely Correct Taylor! :thumbsup The $$$ is only a fragment of what 'Success' is about. Are you happy in what you do? ~ Do you feel driven to improve what you do? ~ Are you producing adequate cash flow to continue what you're doing? ~ Are people still bringing your name into conversation? ~ Do you feel fulfilled?
:music note "Success ~ Meet Taylor Hicks!" :music note

You're Absolutely Correct too, Gra8fulheart:

The arts and entertainment sections has highly recommended Taylor's in Grease . " Grease (Academy of Music) American Idol's Taylor Hicks is the one that you want! Opens Tuesday."
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From stolen album to stolen hearts ... This Idol's in heaven
Philadelphia Daily News 215-854-5960

WE WERE supposed to be talking about his spotlight role in "Grease" (opening tomorrow at the Academy of Music), or maybe his current album, "The Distance," or maybe his tell-some memoir, "Heart Full of Soul," which recounts the guy's rise from a humble Alabama childhood to the Season Five winner on "American Idol."
But the morning I caught up with Taylor Hicks was a sad one. Michael Jackson had died the night before, and the shock hadn't worn off. First, we had to grieve.

"Of course I was a big fan," Hicks said on the cell phone from Detroit, where "Grease" was in residence and, ironically, where M.J. first got props as a member of the Jackson Five, recording for Motown.

Younger than his prematurely gray eminence suggests, the now 32-year-old Hicks first tuned in to Jackson during the age of "Thriller" - "at the height of his success and popularity. I think I wore a white glove to kindergarten. Yeah, I was a big fan. My generation was right there in the popular demographic, but the thing with Michael is that he didn't just reach us kids, he touched three or four different generations. There's very few that have done that."

Another Idol heard from
Ironically, the "blue-eyed soul"-styled Hicks is another singer who has won an unusually diverse fan base (dubbed the "Soul Patrol"), thanks to the inordinate reach of that TV talent contest which crowned him an idol - with 36.4 million viewers watching.

When I asked Hicks to describe whom he sees cheering when he makes his floating-from-the-clouds entrance as the Teen Angel in "Grease," he described them as "all over the board, people from 8 to 80.

"That's the great thing about a show like 'Idol.' It brings generations together and teaches a younger generation about music that has had an impact, and is why music is what it is today. How many 10-year-old children get to listen and explore the sounds of Tony Bennett in their own home? That's the amazing part of that show. I like to say it's a substitute for the decline of liberal-arts programs across the country. It's a kind of music class. Some of the liberal-arts programs in elementary schools have taken quite a hit in the past 10 years, and 'Idol' luckily has been able to substitute for some of that."

Doing it his (their) way
Maybe the least likely "A.I." candidate to ever win the competition, Hicks' taste in music and performing style skew a lot more towards old Cocker (Joe) or McDonald (Mike), a lot less to Usher or Timberlake (Justin).

At that legendary "A.I." tryout in Las Vegas that he went to on a fluke "after getting a free ticket from an airline for being bounced from a flight out of hurricane-torn New Orleans," Simon Cowell told Taylor that he didn't have a chance. Still, the guy won over Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson with a down-home treatment of "Swanee River Rock" lifted whole from Ray Charles.

The first record Hicks ever owned - OK, stole - from a store, he tells in "Heart Full of Soul," was an Otis Redding album, "Shake."

And even in his high-school years, his heart belonged to vintage (and mostly southern-fried) rhythm-and-blues music. "When everyone else was listening to Blind Melon, I was listening to Solomon Burke." [Actually from Philly, but maybe the first talent to successfully merge soul and country.] "You know, Burke was also the first guy to use the cape and the red rose in his show, and James Brown kind of stole his act, so to speak. Then they'd say of Michael Jackson that the last guy who moved like him was James Brown. Funny how things go 'round like that."

Hicks believes he won on "A.I." by taking control of the situation, playing by his own rules and staying grounded. "I'd spent so many years trying to make it, that I like to think I had the focus, once the big movement started happening. My life experience" - which included years of roadhouse singing in Alabama, two indie albums and an erstwhile recording project in Nashville under the guidance of another soul legend, Percy Sledge - "gave me a boost up. I used the harmonica to my advantage on the show, even when told it might get me disqualified." (The next year, 'A.I.' candidates were officially allowed to play instruments on stage.)

And Hicks had "another pioneering thought" that he put into play. "I was the first to write the endings of my songs. They gave me two minutes to 'play that funky music,' and I made sure my endings were powerful and signature enough to move me along in the competition."

Grease is the word
This whole alliance with "Grease" is another offbeat move that has left some scratching their heads, but which Hicks sees as a smart career strategy.

Cut loose under "mutual agreement" from 19/Arista Records after his cheesily produced debut album, "Taylor Hicks," sold only a million copies - the lowest sales figure to date for a winning Idol - Hicks went off and made a clearly superior album for his own Modern Whomp Records label. "The Distance" takes a more organic, gritty approach (no generic backing singers, no syrupy strings) with thoughtful, soul-pop and country-style songs (9 authored/co-authored by Hicks) and excellent backing by the same guys who tour and record with Eric Clapton (among other notables.)

But without the big-bucks tour support that he might have gotten from a major label, going out and promoting this project across the nation seemed daunting.

Enter "Grease" - that much-loved, cartoon-ish musical homage to the early days of rock and roll, hot rods, teen hoodlums and high school romance which was back on Broadway last year in a new production featuring winners of a TV talent contest (!!!) called "Grease: You're the Won That I Want."

Hicks joined the show in New York last spring for what was supposed to be a three-month special guest appearance, cast as the "Teen Angel" (played in the movie by aging Philly pop idol Frankie Avalon). You know the part - the handsome charmer who urges the "Beauty School Dropout" to go back to high school. Hicks got to do the number his way, adding some wailing, bluesy harmonica work. The creative team also popped him into the "Megamix" at the show's end, wherein he reprises the title song - one of four hits from the 1978 movie version added to this stage production.

Clearly, Hicks' self proclaimed "babysteps . . . walk before you run" participation in the Broadway musical constituted just a "cameo." But his name recognition and presence spelled "star power" for the production - translating into an extra $150,000 a week in ticket sales, reported the New York Post.

Then, at year's end, Hicks got an offer he couldn't refuse to join the national touring production. Therein, he'd also get to plug/perform a single from his soon-coming-out album as another encore treat. The deal sounded so good, he signed up to travel with the show until June, 2010.

"This is a wonderful way to be able to let fans new and old see me in a part and also see me as an artist," Hicks explained. "Nowadays, you have to be creative in the way you get your music and voice heard. The way the road tour is structured, it's a really cool way to exercise that concept. It's very rare that an artist, an entertainer, gets to go into a city to perform and stay in that particular market for multiple days or weeks, to work a Broadway show and work a record."

In some cities - though not this one - Hicks flies in his touring band and does a late night showcase at a club. Here, he'll surely be popping up on local TV and radio shows to plug stuff. And Soul Patrolers will find him out in the lobby after every performance "to sign merchandise and CDs and shoot the breeze" just like the down-to-earth "idol" he is. *

"Grease" plays at the Academy of Music, Broad and Locust streets, tomorrow through July 19. Performances Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 6:30 p.m., matinees Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m., $25-$100, 215-731-3333,
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Just a little tidbit from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily Magazine : Looks like Taylor is helping the local economy in Philly by clothes shopping.

Before wrapping his stage role in Grease, Taylor Hicks stopped at Distante (1510 Sansom St.) on Friday for un-Teen Angel duds: a tan linen safari-style tailored cut jacket, a pinstriped vest, and a black stretch viscose short-sleeved shirt.

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

Do you think we will be seeing this outfit at one of his concerts??? The pinstripe vest is a winner.
Edited by mouser, Jul 21 2009, 07:23 AM.
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Visit Taylor's facebook :

Here are two pictures from THE PHILADELPHIA TOURIST, Mr. Hicks himself. Gentleman with him is Clay Connor.

Posted Image Taylor knockin' em dead with his Grease performance in Philly.

Posted Image Taylor sharing the LOVE of music and life with his fans.
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Now ~ That really iritates me! His legs are prettier than mine! :lm

Like you mouser ~ I'm Lovin the vest. I imagine the t-shirt looks great on him also. As for the jacket~I don't know. I'm not much for so many pockets on a jacket. But~I'm certain he wears it well too!

Anyone else want to 'brave it'? ;nodram
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Taylor Hicks performs "Seven Mile Breakdown" in Studio X at 92.5 WXTU in Philadelphia, PA credit to Kristin Campbell

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