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Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Scott Oliver’

On February 7, 2011, I attended Ryan Scott Oliver’s sold-out “Songbook Release Concert” at Joe’s Pub. Ryan Scott Oliver is one of today’s rising songwriters/composers and tonight the performers he had really demonstrated why Ryan is on the rise.

Ryan has his own way of writing music and that is what makes Ryan’s music so great! With songs about love, hope, fear, and loss, Ryan doesn’t try to be the next anybody, he just tries to be himself. He’s fortunate because he achieves it! Ryan also  knows how to choose the right performers to sing his music. He assembled quite a roster of rising theatre performers to help bring his music to life!

Adam & Lindsay Mendez

Starting off the night was Lindsay Mendez, Alex Brightman, Jay Armstrong Johnson and Grace Wall singing “The Ballad of Sara Berry” from Ryan’s musical “35MM.” This song is about a girl who is feeling the pressure from her family to be crowned prom queen, forcing her to resort to many different tactics to win, including murder. Lindsay used her skilled vocals to take the audience through the many emotions and events running through Sara Berry leading to the ultimate win…but to find out what that ultimate win is, you’ll have listen to the song for that!

Continuing on the high that was left by Lindsay, was Grace Wall who sang “A Hypochondriac’s Song” about a girl who is plagued by her fear of death, she struggles through everyday life as she strives to find a man who will put up with her crazy phobias from Ryan’s musical “Out Of My Head.” Grace’s beautiful voice shined as she brought this girls fear and hopes to life. Alex Brightman was the next performer to dazzle the audience. He was on fire belting the crazy out of “Lost Boy” from Ryan’s musical “Darling.” “Lost Boy” is a new take on “Peter Pan” where Peter recounts the hardships in his life that made him feel as if he doesn’t belong. I’m not even sure Alex needed a microphone tonight, but it just added to the vocal power that radiated from Alex and mesmerized the audience.

Next up was “Crayon Girl” from Ryan’s musical “Out Of My Head.” Sung by Jessica Hershberg, “Crayon Girl” is about an artist who struggles to translate her visions onto paper and starts to question whether or not she should continue her career as an artist due to the negativity she receives from her mother. Jessica scored big with this song allowing the audience to really feel everything “Crayon Girl” was going through. (On a personal note: This song reminds me I should ask more often “Was there ever at time a you thought about quitting and if so what career would you choose?)

Andrew Keenan-Bolger & Adam

Taking the stage right after Jessica was Andrew Keenan-Bolger who sang “Stupid Boys,” a song Ryan wrote about a guy who is anxiously waiting for his love interest to call, but while waiting, this man proclaims that boys are stupid; however when he realizes his “Special Someone” isn’t going to call, the guy recognizes that he, in fact, is the stupid one. This song should be released as a single, it’s so identifiable. I know many people, myself included, who have been in this exact situation. Through his voice, Andrew brilliantly displayed the emotions of anticipation, hope, excitement, disappointment, and ultimately realization of what that this guy was feeling.

Katie Thompson

I’m not quite sure the audience was ready for what happened next, but the phenomenal brilliance that is Katie Thompson took the stage. If it were possible to dazzle an audience beyond captivation, then Katie Thompson did just that when she took Ryan’s song “To Do” (about a hopeful romantic who vows to move forward after a series of unrequited loves) and not only reworked the arrangements, but riffed the roof right off of Joe’s Pub. In all my years of seeing people sing, I have never seen the talent and skill that is Katie Thompson’s musical talent and vocal ability.  She is one of a kind and Ryan is genius for having her perform it like only Katie can do!

Following Katie, were Jay Armstron Johnson and Alex Brightman who sang “Halfway,” a song written by Ryan about two lovers who live on opposite coasts meet each other in the middle of the country, their anticipation building as the separate road trips progress. Through their body language and voices, Jay and Alex really took the audience on this road trip allowing us to believe they were really lovers coming to meet.

Ryan definitely delighted me on many levels with tonight’s show, but one of my many favorite moments came when Lindsay Mendez performed “Make Me A Picture Of The Sun” (A setting of Emily Dickinson’s classic poem) because Ryan introduced this song by saying the arrangements and music were influenced by “Sooner or Later” from the motion picture “Dick Tracy,” which happens to be one of my favorite songs sung by Madonna. Lindsay’s voice guided the words perfectly, making this song just as beautiful as Lindsay’s voice.

Grace Wall came back to the stage and sang “On Monday” from Ryan’s musical “35MM.” “On Monday” is about a fast-moving girl who learns that the greatest love takes the greatest while. Once again, another brilliant song by Ryan that should be released as a single because so many people I know, including myself, get so excited when we find someone we really like and want to rush it along, but have to remember to stop and let love take it’s course. Grace did just that…she let the audience stop and enjoy her voice while she led us down this path of inspiration.

Continuing on the path of inspiration was Colin Donnell singing “What It’s Worth” from Ryan’s musical “Out Of My Head.” “What It’s Worth” is about a man who proclaims that when you love someone, you sometimes need to go through the painful process of letting them go. Colin’s vocal skills definitely brought together the emotions of love and loss, allowing his voice to guide him and the audience through this painful process. (I bet if I asked this character, If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be, he would answer the love he let go).

Jeff Hiller

Bringing the evening to a comedic halt was none other than Jeff Hiller (who many of you will remember Jeff’s grand comedic moments as “John Quincy Adams” in Broadway’s “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”). When Jeff enters a room or walks out on stage, there is no doubt that laughter will be close behind and tonight did not disappoint. Jeff sang “The Plane (is Going Down)” a song by Ryan Scott Oliver about a man who is forced to face his fear of flying when he is asked to go on a business trip. A common fear amongst people, Ryan has very smartly taken a serious subject and turned into a song that allows one to share it in a light and fun way. Leave it to Jeff Hiller to bring the light and fun to it. From his vocal inflection to his facial expressions to his body language, Jeff had the sold-out crowd in stitches! When I interviewed Jeff last October he mentioned in his interview that he was taking voice lessons…well let me tell you, those voice lessons have clearly paid off because Jeff’s voice was in FINE SHAPE! I hope Jeff does more concerts so more people can hear just how great of singer he is!

Bringing back the serious, but with much hope was Krysta Rodriguez who sang “The View From Here” from Ryan’s musical “Darling.” “The View From Here” has 16-year-old Ursula Morgan sitting on her windowsill, reflecting on her neglected childhood and hopes for a better future. Krysta’s voice is gorgeous and she knows how to use it bringing the much needed emotion to this sad, but uplifting song.

Ryan totally surprised the audience when he premiered a new song “Agnes” which is about a boy named Jasper who journeys through the Afterlife intent on rescuing his recently deceased best friend Agnes. In this song, he is attempting to persuade the three-headed guard dog Cerberus to allow him passage. To premiere this song, Ryan brought Alex Brightman back to the stage, which was a wise choice because Alex has the stellar vocal talents to communicate Ryan’s musical message.

Closing the night was Eric Michael Krop, Grace Wall, Katie Gassert, Michael Lowney, and Geoff Kidwell singing “Odyssey,” a multi-genre song about a soldier who abandons a defeated, war-torn land, returning home to the comfort of his lover. Eric Michael Krop was the perfect choice for this song as his vocal skills cross many genres (which he demonstrates well on his EP “Run“) and perfectly showed the wariness of soldier’s fight coupled with the excitement of coming home to his lover.

What made tonight so special for me, personally, was the fact that out of the 16 performers singing, I have been fortunate to interview almost half of them for “Adaumbelle’s Quest” (the songwriter/composer himself Ryan Scott Oliver, Jeff Hilller, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Lindsay Mendez, Eric Michael-Krop, and Katie Thompson). It was a huge delight for me to see my fellow participants strut their stuff and belt out their songs, but it was also great to be introduced to many other talented performers including Alex Brightman, Colin Donnell, Jessica Hecksberg, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Krysta Rodriguez, and Grace Wall.

The next time Ryan Scott Oliver has a concert, I highly suggest checking it out because not only will you hear enjoyable music, but you will be treated to a host of talent on the rise who will be entertaining us for years to come!

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On Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:30pm at The Canal Room in NYC, NewMusicalTheatre.com will be presenting a follow-up concert to their explosive coming out party from last spring, with Kerrigan-Lowdermilk’s “You Made This Tour” opening at 7:30pm. Produced by John Johnson and Katie Riegel and directed by David Ruttura and music director Matt Hinkley, this concert will feature songs from 12 of the newest writers added to the NewMusicalTheatre.com community, performed by a hand-picked crew of Broadway’s most-talented stars (A full list of performers and songwriters will be announced shortly). YOU JUST MIGHT HAVE THE CHANCE TO PERFORM ALONGSIDE SOME OF TODAY’S RISING BROADWAY STARS AND WRITERS! (for those of you who just want to attend the concert, click here for tickets)

TO ENTER:

Performers should upload a video to YouTube of their performance of any song available for download on NewMusicalTheatre.com (including songs by Bobby Cronin, Jonathan Reid Gealt, Ryan Scott Oliver, Will Van Dyke, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Joe Iconis, Michael Friedman, Pasek & Paul, and Kerrigan-Lowdermilk) then post it to the site’s Facebook fan page (facebook.com/NewMusicalTheatrecom) or tweet it to @nmtsongs. All entries should be received by Sunday, February 20 and one winner will be invited to perform their song at the Canal Room on February 28. Please note that all entrants should be available to be in New York City the day of the show. Travel and accommodation will not be provided.

NewMusicalTheatre.com is dedicated to the distribution and promotion of a new generation of musical theater writers who self-publish their own digital sheet music. Its goal is to create a direct connection between the people who write music and the people who want to perform and listen to it. It provides an affordable and legal one-stop shop to discover and share the work of self-published writers. It aspires to foster a dynamic community where fans and actors can directly connect and impact the writers of
tomorrow’s next big hits. This is an e-commerce website designed by writers for writers. It allows fans to directly support writers when they need it most – before their shows go to Broadway.

Now boasting over 25 of the most exciting new voices writing for the theater today, NewMusicalTheatre.com fosters the idea that fans and actors can directly connect and impact the writers of tomorrow’s next big hits.

NewMusicalTheatre.com Concert at The Canal Room, Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:30pm (doors open at 7pm, Kerrigan-Lowdermilk open the show at 7:30pm)

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Andrew Keenan-Bolger is yet another one of our next generation actors on the rise! On Broadway, he has starred in “Seussical,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Christmas Carol,” and currently “Mary Poppins,” playing “Robertson Ay” (taking over the role from fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” Mark Price). Around the country, Andrew has been on the First National Tours of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (playing “Leaf Coneybear”) “The Grinch” (playing “Max”), “Mary Poppins” (also playing “Robertson Ay”), and “Ragtime.” His other theatrical credits include “It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Superman” (Dallas Theater Center), “High School Musical” (NAMT), and “Perez Hilton Saves The Universe” (2008 NYC Fringe). Andrew is also sought after for many theatre workshops/readings. Some of his more recent ones have been “Crutchy” in Disney’s “Newsies,” “Mike TeeVee” in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Marc Shaiman/Scott Whittman, director Sam Mendes), “Jesse” in “Truck Everlasting,” “Omar” in Disney’s “Aladdin,” and “Hal” in “Rocket Scientist” (Playwright’s Horizon).

In addition to theatre, Andrew has shined in such films and TV shows as Nickelodeon’s “The Naked Brothers Band” (“Christophe”), “Marci X,” “One Life To Live,” weekly commentator on FNMTV on MTV, and the hit web series “The Battery’s Down.”

On Monday, February 7, you can catch Andrew along with Lindsay Mendez in Ryan Scott Oliver’s Songbook release concert at 7pm and 9:30pm at Joe’s Pub in New York City!  You can also catch Andrew 8 nights a week on Broadway in Disney’s “Mary Poppins” as “Robertson Ay” at the New Amsterdam Theatre (42nd Street & 7th Avenue) in New York City! For much more on Andrew be sure to visit http://www.andrewkeenanbolger.com

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? My sisters are my biggest inspiration. My sister Maggie and I grew up watching Celia perform. When you’re a kid and your big sis is doing something she thinks is cool you’re bound to follow in her footsteps.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? Oh jeez. I don’t honestly know. I just try to bark out whatever’s on the page.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? I’ve always wanted to work with Michael John LaChiusa. He writes the most ingenious, challenging material in modern musical theatre. I can now cross Ryan Scott Oliver off that same list 🙂

4. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To always wear blinders. It’s easy to compare yourself and your achievements to people around you. The time you spend looking side to side, other people are moving forward.

5. If you couldn’t be doing what you are doing now, what career would you choose? If I wasn’t an actor, I’d probably be involved in some aspect of filmmaking. Either editing or directing.

6. Favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? It’s such a cliche, but my shower. I’ve come up with some crazy shit standing under that faucet.

7. Favorite way to stay in shape? I try to walk to Shake Shack rather than take the subway.

8. Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.

9. Favorite website? I really love flavorwire.com. It’s a totally hipster culture blog filled with lots of free music, art and news stories.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? Absolutely Superman! I spent last summer working on the Strouse and Adams musical of the same name and became fascinated with America’s long obsession with the caped hero.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Do you have any strange or unusual talent that nobody knows about? I make a mean grilled cheese.

12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? My boyfriend, Brian Letendre 🙂

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This contest is now over and the winner is Will Rivera! Congratulations Will! For those of you who did not win, if you buy a ticket to Ryan’s February 7th concert at Joe’s Pub, you’ll receive a free copy at the show! It’s time  for the first giveaway of the New Year! One lucky fan, at random, will have the chance to win a copy of award winning composer/lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver’s first ever songbook: “Muisc + Lyrics by Ryan Scott Oliver Volume 1!” Head on over to my Facebook Fan Page and “Tag” yourself in the photo for your chance to win! The contest ends Wednesday, January 12 at 10pm! (Don’t forget to attend Ryan’s Joe’s Pub concert on Monday, February 7 at 7pm & 9:30pm)






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Award winning composer/lyricist and fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant Ryan Scott Oliver is releasing his first ever songbook, “Music + Lyrics by Ryan Scott Oliver: Volume 1” the only way he knows how: with a concert Monday, February 7, 2011 at Joe’s Pub in NYC at 7pm and 9:30pm!

Come celebrate the release of Ryan’s first ever Songbook with Ryan Scott Oliver himself along with his twisted band, longtime RSO performers/collaborators Alex Brightman, Jay Armstrong Johnson, and Lindsay Mendez, and guest stars to soon be announced!

With three previous sold-out concerts at Joe’s Pub, you’re not going to want to miss out on this one! Ryan’s music is sophisticated, contemporary, and most of all inspiring! Come share the music of this award winning composer/lyricist with his many adoring fans, including yours truly! (Click here for my review of his previous concert)

Every concert attendee will receive a FREE copy of Ryan’s Songbook! So come enjoy an evening of music and delight on Monday, February 7, 2011 at Joe’s Pub in NYC (425 Lafayette Street, NYC) at 7pm and 9:30pm! Get your tickets now…

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“Adaumbelle’s Quest” 2nd Anniversary

Photo by Ben Strothmann

I am so honored to be celebrating my 2nd Anniversary here at “Adaumbelle’s Quest.” It has been very exciting to have the continued opportunity to bring my love of entertainment and interviewing to so many people. I’m very humbled by the growth of “Adaumbelle’s Quest” in this second year and hope that this expansion continues.

I may be the face of this site, but “Adaumbelle’s Quest” would not be without each and everyone of you:

Every performer and artist I have had the opportunity to interview. The fact that you took time out of your lives to answer my questions is truly a dream come true for me.

Every press agent who has taken the time to help me get so many of my participants. I would not have been able to interview them without your assistance!

Each and every person who takes the time to read “Adaumbelle’s Quest,” whether it’s on a daily, weekly, monthly, or a whenever I can basis. I’m thrilled to have your support and the reality that I have fans is another dream come true for me.

My many friends who provide me with guidance and support, allow me to talk their ear off about ideas, always there to answer my infinite amount of computer questions, and those who help me with my logos, business cards, and buttons. How would I manage this all on my own? I’m so lucky to have you in my life!

ITBA for your support and giving me a place to meet other theater bloggers.

My family for their constant love and support.

    Photo by Ben Strothmann

So once again, thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart for all of the time, support, and love you give to me and this site. I’m amazed by these two years, not only of the growth of this site, but how this site has affected my personal growth. I’m so fortunate to have it and I don’t take anyone who has ever had an interaction with this site for granted. Thank you for sticking by me and I hope you all continue to do so!

    1. How do you decide who you want to interview? Initially it was artists and performers I have been a long time fan of, but it quickly became an outlet to also promote new talent I’m introduced to.

    2. Who has been your best and worst interview? You’ll have to wait for the book on this one! (hahahaha)…Seriously though, I just feel fortunate I’ve gotten to interview everyone I have because it’s been a dream of mine to be part of the entertainment community and I finally feel like I’m starting to move in.

    3. What are some of the most popular answers? That’s really tough because everyone is so individualized in their answers, but if I had to choose, many people answer Meryl Streep when I ask “Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to?”

    It’s pretty divided between Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts or they don’t like corporate coffee places when I ask “Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts?” It’s also pretty divided between “Superman” or “Wonder Woman,” though every now and then someone gets upset I only give choices for DC Comics. The reasoning behind that is growing up I wasn’t a big comic book fan, so when I watched superhero cartoons on TV, I didn’t know one was DC and one was Marvel. To me it was just a superhero. Plus, when I was thinking of these questions, I thought if two superheros were to have it out, it would be “Superman” and “Wonder Woman.”

    For “Boxers or Briefs”…most people answer boxer briefs, but briefs do seem to win out more over boxes, unless they go commando.

    4. Favorite place to write? My apartment and sometimes on vacation, but anywhere that can just allow me to be with my thoughts and little distraction.

    5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “The impossible is something that hasn’t been tried”–Ernst Bulova. “You can’t get a yes without asking the question.”–Bob Trautman.

    6. What’s your proudest moment? The moment I realized I am finally living the life I always dreamed for myself, just in a completely different way than I imagined.

    7. Favorite way to spend your day off? Sleeping in, going to the gym, catching up on TV shows, hanging with friends, taking a nap, going for a walk, or drinking a vanilla chai tea latte.

    8. Favorite skin care product? Origins…Perfect World Toner, Perfect World for Eyes, Matte Scientist (which they recently discontinued…please bring it back!), Never A Dull Moment, Skin Diver, Checks and Balances, and Firefighter. I also used to love Susan Lucci’s hair care products and her Youthful Essence Microdermabrasion.

    9. Favorite TV Show? I’m sure there are many more, but this is what I could remember. Now: “90210,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Brothers and Sisters,” “Modern Family,” “Glee,” “Cougar Town,” “Mike and Molly,” “Hot in Cleveland,” and “Raising Hope.” Then: “The Golden Girls,” “Family Ties,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Saved By The Bell,” “California Dreams,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Melrose Place,” “Donna Reed,” “Bewitched,” “Punky Brewster,” “Mr. Belvedere,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Silver Spoons,” “He-Man,” “She-Ra,” “GI Joe,” “Superfriends,” “Wonder Woman,” “Ellen” (TV sitcom), “The Class,” “Gobots,” “Jem and the Holograms,” “Bette,” “Sordid Lives: The Series,” “It’s All Relative,” “Strong Medicine,” “Any Day Now,” and “The Practice.”

    10. Favorite Comedian? Ellen DeGeneres, Wendy Liebman, Sandra Bernhard, Jessica Kirson, Leslie Jordan, Chelsea Handler, and Julie Halston.

    BONUS QUESTIONS:

    11. Favorite kind of sundae? Cookies & Cream ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.

    12. Peanut Butter: Crunchy or Smooth? Smooth, so it spreads perfectly when I make my yummy peanut butter and cheese sandwiches!

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Morgan Karr is another one of our next generation actors to keep your eyes on. He has a powerful voice, personality and a great stage presence! From Broadway, Off-Broadway and Regional shows to concert performances, Morgan Karr is the man about town.  He’s performed in Broadway’s “Spring Awakening,” Off-Broadway’s “Everyday Rapture,” and the Fringe Festival hit “VOTE! The Musical.” Regionally, he has been seen in “All Shook Up” at the Ogunquit Playhouse, “Green Eyes” at Theatre Building of Chicago, and American Music Theatre Project’s productions of “The Boy in the Bubble,” “The Boys Are Coming Home,” “Not Wanted On The Voyage,” Andrew Lippa’s “The Wild Party,” and “Edges.” His one-man show “Morgan Karr: An Awfully Big Adventure” sold out Joe’s Pub. Morgan was also part of fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant’s Ryan Scott Oliver’s sold out show “Rated RSO: The Music of Ryan Scott Oliver.” Catch Morgan rocking it out on Sunday, March 28 at 7pm at the Metropolitan Room in Bobby Cronin’sNot The Same: The Music of Bobby Cronin” (fellow “Adaumbelle’s Quest” participant) and with Anne Fraser Thomas on March 30 at 11pm at Bartini in New York City (642 10th Avenue, between 45th & 46th Street)! For more on Morgan, be sure to check out his website: http://www.morgankarr.com.

1. Who inspired you to become a performer? My grandfather continues to be my inspiration every day. I’m living the dream he wasn’t allowed to pursue. He was never encouraged to follow his dream. I’m so lucky to have my grandfather’s support, and every day I think about him and he inspires me. My family is a huge source of inspiration.

2. What is the highest and lowest note you can sing? I’ve never really sat down to figure this out. I know it gets pretty ugly when I try to actually sing low. I get scared when I see a low note on a piece of music haha. And as for how high I can sing? I’m not scared to find out if I can or can’t sing a note… so I just go for it. And it usually works out. Sometimes, however… it CAN be a hit or miss game haha.

3. Who is the one person you haven’t worked with that you would like to? There is a laundry list of people I’d love to work with. I’m a sponge when it comes to soaking up wisdom and stories from seasoned veterans! Watching Sherie Rene Scott, for example, during EVERYDAY RAPTURE was a master class every day. I’m also just starting out with my career so the list of people I WANT to work with… is miles longer than the people I HAVE worked with.

4. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I don’t dream about people. I dream about adventures.

5. Favorite way to stay in shape? Walking in NYC on a spring day.

6. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs.

7. Favorite singer/musician? Stevie Wonder meets Ben Folds meets Luther Vandross meets Whitney Houston meets Dave Matthews Band.

8. Favorite quote? Be who you are and say what you feel…. because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind!

9. Favorite Website? http://www.iloveegg.com/egg_english.htm.

10. Superman or Wonder Woman? SUPERMAN. If you know one thing about me… know that Superman has a big place in my heart.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

11. Favorite ride at an amusement park? The Superman ride at Six Flags. original huh???

12. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? Tanto Dulce Cafe up in Harlem. Best coffee in the world with RAW SUGAR!! OOOOOOHHHh so good!

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