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There's nothing quite like going to a live musical or play and when you attend a performance of Wicked, you are in for an experience like no other. The creators and producers of Wicked have utilized their stagecraft skills to the fullest to bring you and the rest of the parterre audience this wonderful performance. All the rehearsals, stagecraft, sets, props and costumes are complete. The actors and musicians are ready and all that's left is for you to take your seat and watch the live spectacle unfold before your very eyes. All the Wicked actors, the playwright, director and the entire technical production team have put together a show like no other. And the next time you want to go to a play or musical to see a drama, comedy or tragedy, please shop here at Best Show Tickets again.
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About Wicked the Musical
Wicked is one of the most successful and beloved musicals of all-time. The show premiered on Broadway, at the Gershwin Theatre, in October of 2003. It has since become one of the Great White Way's longest running productions. The musical has sold millions of Wicked tickets on Broadway as well as in cities all over the world. The musical has been produced for theatres in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London's West End—Wicked holds the West End record for biggest opening. Two Wicked tours have been launched in the U.S. and each has been a resounding success. Internationally, the show has had extensive runs in Tokyo, Osaka, Stuttgart, Sydney, and Melbourne.
Wicked is based on the novel "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" by Gregory Maguire. The tome runs parallel to the 1939 movie Wizard of OZ (which was based on L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of OZ"). Wicked weaves the tale of two witches, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Galinda (later Glinda) the Good Witch of the North. The two strong female characters are both friends and rivals. The story takes place before Dorothy's arrival in Oz and then continues through her stay and eventual departure. Although she's referenced, you never see the ruby-shoe-wearing Kansan, however Wicked does explain the origins of the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion.
Wicked's music and lyrics were by Stephen Schwartz ("Godspell" and "Pippin") and the book was written by Winne Holzman (creator of the ABC television series "My So-Called Life"). The original Broadway production was directed by Joe Mantello and the musical staging was done by Wayne Cilento. The magnificent Idina Menzel originated the role of Elphaba and her wonderful performance earned her the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress. The role of Glinda was originated by the amazing Kristin Chenoweth. The incomparable Joel Grey was cast as The Wizard.
Wicked's signature song is the soaring act one closer "Defying Gravity." If that number doesn't make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up than you're not human. Other memorable tunes from the score include "Popular," "One Short Day," and "As Long As You're Mine." The musical also features stunning sets, elaborate costumes, and thrilling theatrical effects. There are even talking animals and a very cute lion cub.
In 2004, Wicked received 10 Tony Award nominations. Beside's Menzel's win, the show also took home Tonys for Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design. In the coveted Best Musical category, Wicked lost out to another popular Broadway show, Avenue Q. The West End production of Wicked was nominated for four 2010 Laurence Olivier Awards (that country's version of the Tony Awards) but lost all four. It did win the now obsolete Audience Award for Most Popular Show.
Wicked is arguably Broadway's most entertaining and popular musical. Its catchy songs, its numerous Wizard of Oz references, and its sense of humor make the musical a refreshing treat for ardent theatre goers as well as palpable for those who normally eschew Broadway tickets. Wicked's tremendous success and popularity are even more astonishing when you consider that it opened to mixed reviews; the New York Times panned the show.
Wanna Have a Wicked Good Time?
If you haven't seen it, then you may wonder what all the hub bub over the Broadway musical Wicked is all about. But if you've been to a showing of Wicked, you've most likely recommended it to your friends.
There's something special about Wicked, something intangible yet real, something ephemeral but unmistakable. It may be that the people who watch this musical unfold on the stage already have whisps of The Wizard of Oz movie floating around in the back of their minds, but as people watch Wicked, they are transported to another time and place and almost always have an unforgettable experience.
I hadn't been to the theater in a very long time when I went to see Wicked in San Francisco a while back. By the intermission I was wondering why it had taken me so many years to get back to the theater. After seeing some other mediocre plays and musicals since, I now know that Wicked stands alone.
I loved the humor and I loved trying to piece togther the characters as they were in Wicked versus in Oz.
It's been such a popular Broadway musical in NYC that there has been, and continues to be a national production tour.
Of course it's been seen by millions of people and been given many awards as well. Wicked has broken box office records around the world and it was nominated for ten 2004 Tony Awards, winning those for Best Actress, Scenic Design and Costume Design. It also won six Drama Desk Awards.
More Wicked Awards
Drama Desk Outstanding Musical
Drama Desk Outstanding Book
Drama Desk Outstanding Lyrics
Grammy for Best Cast Album
All You'll Ever to Need to Know About Wicked
Wicked is one of the most popular and successful musicals in the history of Broadway. The show debuted in 2003 to mix reviews. It didn’t matter. Fans loved it and the show broke box office records on Broadway and all over the world. Wicked tickets have been sold to various national tours and to productions in London, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Sydney, Helsinki, and Stuttgart. The original production was nominated for ten Tony awards and won three (best actress, costume design, and scenic design). It lost the Best Musical to Avenue Q.
Wicked tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West and parallels events found in L. Frank Baum's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. The musical is fun, funny, fast-paced, compassionate, and compelling. The sets are spectacular. The costumes are amazing. And the music is memorable. You'll be singing "Popular" for a week and "Defying Gravity," which ends Act I, is one of the greatest moments in the history of American theatre. Of course, just about everyone with a casual knowledge of musicals knows all that stuff. If you want to learn more, and by that we mean a lot more, about one of the greatest musicals of all time, you'll need to read our "Become a Wizard on Wicked" handbook. After perusing our eight-point guide you'll be an expert on one of Broadway's greatest shows.
Become a Wizard on ‘Wicked’
Music and Lyrics – Stephen Schwartz
Book – Winnie Holzman
Director – Joe Mantello
Choreography – Wayne Cilento
Orchestrations - William David Brohn
Scenic Designer – Eugene Lee
Costume Designer – Susan Hilferty
Lighting Designer – Kenneth Posner
Original Elphaba – Idina Menzel
Original Glinda – Kristin Chenoweth
Development & Debut
Like most great musicals, Wicked started as a bit of inspiration. Then, like most great ideas, the copyright had to be secured. Then the book, lyrics and score were written. Then the show was produced and it premiered off Broadway. Then revisions were made to ensure the production wasn’t just good, but wickedly good. Then the production opened Off-Broadway.
Wicked’s composer and lyricist, Stephen Schwartz, first had the idea to turn Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West into a musical. He had read the book while on vacation. There was only one problem. Maguire had already sold the rights to his tome to Universal with the idea of turning it into a movie. No problem. All Schwartz had to do was convince Maguire and Universal to release the rights and allow Wicked the book to be turned into Wicked the musical. Fortunately for us, Schwartz knew how to be persuasive.
Maguire’s book was quite complicated. To help bring such a byzantine story to the stage, Schwartz enlisted the help of Winnie Holzman. Holzman won an Emmy Award for writing for her show My So-Called Life. She also wrote for the television programs thirtysomething and Once and Again. Schwartz and Holzman, along with producer Mac Platt, spent a year adapting the novel. What they ended up with was not a plot-point by plot-point adaptation but a rather loose reworking. In fact, all they really kept was the idea of the plot running concurrent with the events of the 1939 film and the story being told from the point of view of the Wicked Witch. Schwartz and company boiled down Maquire’s work to its essence: the relationship between Glinda and Elphaba.
Schwartz wrote the part of Glinda for Kristin Chenoweth. The indelible Stephanie J. Block was attached to the role of Elphaba early on but it eventually went to Idina Menzel. After three years of development, Wicked opened at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco where it ran for a month. Critics said Wicked was a dazzling spectacle that was a little vapid; it was mostly flash with little substance. Appreciating what he thought were constructive and honest critiques, Schwartz wisely made the production take three months off from rehearsing so he and the rest of the creative team could rework the show. The team tweaked some songs, rewrote some of the book, and made Elphaba “more prominent” (Chenoweth had been overshadowing Menzel).
The show opened on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre on Oct. 30, 2003. After all the hard work and tinkering, the reviews were still mixed. It didn’t really matter. Fans loved the show and it made $56 million in its first year.
Original Broadway Cast
Elphaba - Idina Menzel
Glinda - Kristin Chenoweth
Nessarose - Michelle Federer
Fiyero - Norbert Leo Butz
The Wizard of Oz - Joel Grey
Madame Morrible - Carole Shelley
Doctor Dillamond - William Youmans
Boq - Christopher Fitzgerald
Wicked starts after the Wicked Witch of the West has been melted by Dorothy. As the citizens of Oz celebrate the witch’s demise, Glinda the Good begins to recount the birth and life of the evil sorceress, known as Elphaba. The rest of the musical is a flashback telling the story of the witch’s fall and her relationship with the aforementioned Glinda.
The two first meet at Shiz University where Elphaba, and her green skin, are loathed by the other students and Glinda is the most popular girl in school. Despite the fact that Elphaba and Glinda despise one another, they are assigned to the same dorm room. Soon, their hatred develops into a friendship. One day in history class, Elphaba learns that something is causing the animals of Oz to lose their ability to speak. The next day, when a lion cub arrives in a new creation called a “cage,” Elphaba becomes enraged. With help of a dashing Winkie prince named Fiyero, Elphaba releases the lion back into the wild.
Later in the city of Oz, the Wizard tricks Elphaba, who is a very powerful enchantress, into magically giving wings to a group of monkeys trapped in a cage. Elphaba now realizes the Wizard is a fraud and flees Oz. She’s immediately branded a “wicked witch” while Glinda is promoted to the Wizard’s assistant. After her crippled sister accidently turns herself into the Wicked Witch of the East, Elphaba unsuccessfully tries to set the flying monkeys free. During the attempt, she once again rebukes the Wizard. On the advice of Glinda, Madame Morrible, the Wizard’s right hand woman, uses a cyclone to bring Dorothy to Oz and crush Elphaba’s sister. This prompts Elphaba to capture Dorothy and her friends. Glinda implores Elphaba to let Dorothy go but she refuses. Nonetheless, the two women make up. Glinda agrees not to clear Elphaba’s name and promises to oust the corrupt Wizard. After Glinda departs, Elphaba is melted after Dorothy douses her with water.
Elphaba wasn’t really melted by a bucket of water. She just faked her death. The green-skinned witch then escapes with her love interest, Fiyero, and the two leave Oz. It’s then revealed that the Wizard is Elphaba’s father. Now the leader of Oz, Glinda sends Madame Morrible to jail and orders the Wizard to leave Oz via a balloon. The flashback ends as Glinda and the other residents of Oz end their celebration of the Witch’s death.
!!!End Spoiler Alert!!!
The Origins of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion
How the Wicked Witch got her black hat and broomstick
Why the Wicked Witch is associated with the West
Why the Wicked Witch’s skin was green
How the flying monkeys got their wings
How the Witch got her castle
Songs In Wicked
"No One Mourns the Wicked" – Glinda and Citizens of Oz
"Dear Old Shiz" – Students and Galinda
"The Wizard and I" – Madame Morrible and Elphaba
"What Is This Feeling?" – Glinda, Elphaba and Students
"Something Bad" – Doctor Dillamond and Elphaba
"Dancing Through Life" – Fiyero, Glinda, Boq, Nessarose, Elphaba and Students
"Popular" – Glinda
"I'm Not That Girl" – Elphaba
"One Short Day" – Elphaba, Glinda and Denizens of the Emerald City
"A Sentimental Man" – The Wizard
"Defying Gravity" – Glinda, Elphaba, Guards and Citizens of Oz
"No One Mourns the Wicked" (reprise) - Citizens of Oz
"Thank Goodness" – Glinda, Madame Morrible and Citizens of Oz
"The Wicked Witch of the East" – Elphaba, Nessarose and Boq
"Wonderful" – The Wizard and Elphaba
"I'm Not That Girl" (reprise) – Glinda
"As Long as You're Mine" – Elphaba and Fiyero
"No Good Deed" – Elphaba
"March of the Witch Hunters" – Boq and Citizens of Oz
"For Good" – Glinda and Elphaba
"Finale" – All
The original cast recording was released on Dec. 16, 2003. The album features all the songs from the shows except “The Wizard and I (Reprise)” and “The Wicked Witch of the East.” The album won a Grammy award in 2005.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
In 1964, American Quarterly published an article written by high school teacher Henry Littlefield called “The Wizard of Oz: Parable on Populism.” In this article, Littlefield contended that L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was an allegory about late 19th-century bimetallism. What in the heck is bimetallism? Well, it’s when your money is backed by both gold and silver. According to Littlefield, gold is represented by the Yellow Brick Road, silver by Dorothy’s silver shoes (they were turned into ruby slippers for the 1939 movie), and the Wizard is meant to be the President of the United States.
While Littlefield’s article is interesting (and greatly flawed), it’s probably not what Baum had in mind when he was writing his manuscript. In fact, no one was interpreting Baum’s 1900 tome as anything other than a children’s story. It’s true that Baum’s 1901 musical version of his novel had political references but he was clearly playing for laughs and to adults. Baum said that he wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as an American fairy tale with all the wonder but without all the horrors found in the works of Hans Christian Andersen and Brothers Grimm. In fact, many of the elements found in his novel were taken from people or events in his life. Baum had nightmares about scarecrows, his wife had a niece named Dorothy, and the name “Oz” was taken from a file cabinet which read “O – Z.”
Baum was born in 1856 and died in 1919. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900. It sold its initial first printing of 10,000 copies, and then a second printing of 15,000, in a matter of months. Baum wrote 14 sequels to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with the last two being published after his death. In total, Baum’s extensive body of work includes 55 novels, 82 short stories, and 200 poems. For his non-Oz writings, Baum would use pseudonyms like Edith Van Dyne, Floyd Akers, Schuyler Staunton, and Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald. He was married to the daughter of a renowned suffragette and wrote two articles promoting the extermination of Indians. In his writings, Baum predicted televisions, laptop computers, wireless telephones, and t-shirts adorned with advertisements.
L. Frank Baum’s Oz Books
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)
The Woggle-Bug Book (1905)
Ozma of Oz (1907)
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908)
The Road to Oz (1909)
The Emerald City of Oz (1910)
The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)
Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)
The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)
Rinkitink in Oz (1916)
The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)
The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)
The Magic of Oz (1919, posthumously published)
Glinda of Oz (1920, posthumously published)
Wizard of OZ (1939)
Filmmakers wanted Frank Morgan’s Wizard to wear an elegant coat that had suffered years of wear and tear. To find such a garment, a member of the wardrobe department went to a second hand store and bought an entire rack of coats. Within this collection, the actor, the director, and the head of the wardrobe department were able to find the perfect garment. Then one day while filming, Morgan discovered a label inside one of the coat’s pockets. This label indicated that the vestment once belonged to L. Frank Baum. Baum’s widow immediately confirmed the story to the studio’s marketing department. Years later, the story was refuted by Baum’s family.
Still, you want to believe the tale is true. After all, that’s what The Wizard of the Oz is all about. It’s a film steeped in movie lore. It’s been mythologized by the media, romanticized by fans and synced to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of Moon by stoners. Without a doubt, the film is deserving of all these lofty accolades. It’s one of the most popular films of all-time.
However, the making of The Wizard of Oz was a hot mess. The script was worked on by nearly two dozen writers. The movie changed director six times. Buddy Ebsen had to quit as the Tin Man because he was poisoned by the silver makeup. The Technicolor scenes were arduous and time consuming to shoot. The dog playing Toto did not like following the actors down the Yellow Brick Road causing multiple takes. Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch of the West) was burned badly and in another scene her stand-in suffered a serious injury. During post-production, the studio wanted to cut the song “Over the Rainbow.” They thought kids (the movie’s target demo) wouldn’t understand it. They also thought it was unseemly to have Judy Garland sing in a barn. The film opened in theaters all over the nation on Aug. 25, 1939. At the time of its release, The Wizard of Oz was the most expensive film MGM ever made. That wouldn’t have been so bad had it not been a box office failure in its initial release.
Wizard of Oz Cast
Dorothy Gale - Judy Garland
The Wizard of Oz - Frank Morgan
The Scarecrow/The Hunk - Ray Bolger
The Cowardly Lion/Zeke - Bert Lahr
The Tin Man/Hickory - Jack Haley
Glinda - Billie Burke
The Wicked Witch of the West/Miss Gulch - Margaret Hamilton
Uncle Henry - Charley Grapewin
Nikko - Pat Walshe
Auntie Em - Clara Blandick
The Munchkins - The Singer Midgets
Toto - Terry
Winkie Guard' Captain - Mitchell Lewis
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995)
Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West is an odd one. It uses the characters and places of a franchise that, at the time of the book’s release, was nearly a century old, that being The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Furthermore, Maguire didn’t write a sequel but what the literary intelligentsia call “a revisionist look.” Another unique aspect of Maguire’s work was the fact that it wasn’t for children. While Baum’s original material was kid-friendly, Maguire uses adult language, sex, and violence.
Maguire’s novel is divided into five different sections each inspired by a place: Munchkinlanders, Gillikin, City of Emeralds, In the Vinkus, and The Murder and Its Afterlife. Maguire also gave the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West a name, Elphaba. The epithet came from the phonetic pronunciation of Lyman Frank Baum’s initials, L-F-B. The 1995 novel is the first of a series now known as “The Wicked Years.” The other books in the series are Son of a Witch (2005), A Lion Among Men (2008), and Out of Oz (2011). Gregory’s novel, and the musical, both examine the nature of good and evil. More specifically, they each ask the question is evil doing bad with good intentions or doing bad with bad intentions.
The Gershwin Theatre has seen the best and the worst the Great White Way has to offer. Located at 222 West 51st Street, the Gershwin Theatre opened on Nov. 28, 1972. The venue has 1,933 seats giving it the largest capacity of any theatre on Broadway. It was built for $12.5 million on the site that originally contained the Capitol Theatre. When its doors opened it was called the “Uris Theatre” but changed names in 1983 to the “Greshwin Theatre” to honor legends George and Ira Gershwin. In the venue lobby’s is the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
The theatre had an inauspicious start. Its first show was Via Galactica and it starred the incomparable Raul Julia. The musical ran for just seven performances and was the first production in the annuals of Broadway to lose a million dollars. After hosting two more musical productions in 1973, the theatre became a concert hall from 1974 through 1976. It hosted performances by Frank Sinatra, Sam Davis, Jr., Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bing Crosby. In 1974, Mott the Hoople, with Queen as their opening act, became the first rock band to rock Broadway. Musicals returned to the Gershwin Theatre in 1977 with a revival of the King and I that starred Yul Brynner and Angela Lansbury.
The Gershwin Theatre saw the debut of Wicked in late October 2003. In early 2011, Wicked set a Broadway box office record. For the week ending on Jan. 2, Wicked grossed $2,228,235 over eight performances. It was the most money a musical ever made in one week in the history of the Great Way Way.
Gershwin Theatre – Major Musical Productions
1972 - Via Galactica
1973 - Seesaw; Gigi
1977 - The King and I
1979 - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
1981 - The Pirates of Penzance; Annie
1983 - Show Boat
1985 - Singin' in the Rain
1987 - Starlight Express
1989 - Meet Me in St. Louis
1990 - Fiddler on the Roof
1993 - Raffi
1995 - Show Boat
1997 - Candide; 1776
2002 - Oklahoma!
2003 - Wicked
Thanks to originating the role of Glinda in Wicked, as well as her many successful television appearances, Kristin Chenoweth is one of Broadway’s best known and most popular stars. The diminutive songstress (she’s only 4 foot 11 inches tall) was born on July 24, 1968 and grew up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa. She began singing at church when she was very young and she started performing on stage when she was a student at Broken Arrow Senior High. She graduated from Oklahoma City University with a degree in musical theatre and a master’s degree in opera performance.
The small girl with the big voice made her Broadway debut in 1997 in the musical Steel Pier. Two years later she played Sally in a revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. That role earned her a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. In 2003, after spending some time making films, appearing in television, and releasing an album (Let Yourself Go ), Chenoweth returned to Broadway as the Good Witch of the North. She played Glinda for nine months and was nominated for a Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Kristin didn’t win though. The award went to her Wicked co-star, Idina Menzel, who of course played Elphaba. Chenoweth’s other Broadway credits include the musical Promises, Promises with Sean Hayes (2010). She was going to be a part of the Broadway production of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein but she had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts.
Chenoweth has appeared in numerous television shows and movies. She even had her own sitcom, Kristin, in 2001, but it only ran for six episodes. At the top of her television resume is her portrayal of Annabeth Schott in the highly acclaimed political drama, The West Wing. She’s also known for being in the quirky and completely convoluted ABC program, Pushing Daisies. Despite the show being nearly unwatchable, Chenoweth did pick up two Emmy Award nominations for playing Olive Snook.
Chenoweth is a Christian who had a conservative upbringing but works in an extremely liberal industry. While the two opposing forces have created some controversy for the singer, Chenoweth has always carried herself with professionalism, grace, and compassion. She also has an inner-ear condition called Ménière's disease. The disorder can cause headaches, vertigo, and nausea and on more than one occasion has forced her to cancel performances.
Idina Menzel plays a reoccurring role on the hit television show, Glee. She portrays Shelby Corcoran the biological mother of Rachel Barry. Menzel was practically born for the role. Not only does she look like Lea Michele (the actress who plays Rachel), but in real-life, Menzel is the exact performer the character Rachel Barry is trying to become.
Menzel was born on May 30, 1971 in Queens, New York. Her mother was a therapist and her father sold pajamas. While attending New York University, Menzel sang at weddings and bar mitzvahs. When it came time to perform on stage, Menzel didn’t mess around. In 1995, she got her first gig on Broadway as Maureen Johnson in the musical Rent. Okay, it wasn’t exactly on Broadway, but it soon moved to the Great White Way, more specifically the Nederlander Theatre, just three months after its premiere. Menzel did okay as Maureen. She was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress and then reprised her role in the 2005 film adaption. Menzel left Rent on July 1, 1997.
Then, after appearing in productions of The Wild Party, Hair, and Aida, Menzel landed the role of Glinda in the Broadway musical, Wicked. In what probably made for at least one awkward moment backstage, Menzel captured the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in Musical beating out her co-star, Kristin Chenoweth. Menzel stayed with Wicked until early January 2005. During her penultimate performance, Menzel fell through a trap door and suffered a cracked rib. The injury prevented Menzel from performing the following evening (Jan. 9). She did make an appearance though. Sans green makeup, Menzel performed one last song and received a five minute standing ovation.
In addition to being a star of stage, screen, and television, Menzel has also released several studio albums including 2008’s I Stand. The album was produced by Glen Ballard who co-wrote several songs with Menzel. The opus’ lead single was Wicked’s “Defying Gravity.” In 2003, Menzel married actor Taye Diggs. Their son Walker was born in 2009. Also in 2009, Menzel appeared in two episodes of Diggs’ ABC drama, Private Practice.
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