The Producers (musical)

The Producers (musical)

Infobox Musical
name=The Producers

caption= Original Broadway Playbill
music= Mel Brooks
lyrics= Mel Brooks
book= Mel Brooks
Thomas Meehan
basis= Mel Brooks's 1968 film
"The Producers"
productions= 2001 Broadway
2002 U.S. National tour
2004 West End

2007 UK Tour
2005 Film
Major productions worldwide
awards= Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Book
Tony Award for Best Score
Drama Desk Outstanding New Musical
Drama Desk Outstanding Book
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical
Olivier Award for Best New Musical

"The Producers" is a comedy-musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks' 1968 film of the same name, with lyrics by Brooks and music by Brooks and Glen Kelly. As in the film, the story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich by overselling interests in a Broadway flop. Complications arise when the show unexpectedly turns out to be successful. The humor of the show is accessible to a wide range of audiences, and draws on ridiculous accents, caricatures of homosexuals and Nazis, and many show business in-jokes. The musical was a hit in New York, spawning national tours and successful productions in London and internationally.

The musical opened on April 19 2001 and ran for 2,502 performances, winning a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards. It spawned a successful London production, running for three years, and a 2005 film. The film reunited original stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.


David Geffen persuaded Mel Brooks to turn his movie into a stage musical. When Brooks met with Jerry Herman to discuss their working together, Herman declined, telling Brooks that he should do the job himself, as he was a good songwriter. Brooks then asked Thomas Meehan to join him in writing the book for the stage. Brooks persuaded Mike Ockrent and his wife Susan Stroman to join the creative team as director and choreographer. After Ockrent's death on December 6, 1999, Stroman agreed to continue as both director and choreographer. The last addition to the creative team was Glen Kelly as the musical arranger and supervisor. [ [ Information from the PBS website] ] [ [ Information from the CNN archives] ]

Plot summary

;Act INew York, 1959. It's the opening of a new Max Bialystock play called "Funny Boy", a musical version of Hamlet. Everyone ends up hating it and the show closes on "Opening Night". Max, who was once called the King of Broadway, sings to a crowd of down-and-outs of his past achievements and that he will return to form "King of Broadway".

The next day a mousy accountant, Leo Bloom, arrives in Max's office to look at his books. A couple of seconds later, one of Max's "investors" arrives, however, and Max tells Leo to go wait in the bathroom until she leaves. His investor, a little old lady who constantly repeats the phrase, "Hold Me, Touch Me" starts playing a sex game with Max (the virgin milkmaid and the well-hung stableboy) which he later pauses and she gives him a check for his next play (which he hasn't yet produced and calls "Cash"). Leo comes out of the bathroom and reveals his lifelong dream to Max: he's always wanted to be a Broadway producer. After a serious panic attack when Max touches his blue blanket, Leo calms down enough to give Max the news that he has found an accounting error in his books: Max raised $100,000 for "Funny Boy", but the play only cost $98,000. There's $2,000 unaccounted for. Max begs Leo to cook the books. "Look at me", he pleads: once the King of Broadway, now reduced to romancing little old ladies to back him and wearing cardboard belts. Leo reluctantly agrees and returns to Max's books. After some calculations, he realizes that "under the right circumstances, a producer could actually make more money with a flop than he can with a hit." Max sits up, an idea forming in his unscrupulous head.

Leo explains. "The IRS isn't interested in the show that flopped." "You could've raised a million dollars, put on your $100,000 flop, and kept the rest!" Max proposes the ultimate scheme:

Step 1: We find the worst play ever written. Step 2: We hire the worst director in town. Step 3: We raise two million dollars...One for me, one for you. There's a lot of little old ladies out there! Step 4: We hire the worst actors in New York and open on Broadway and before you can say Step 5, we close on Broadway, take our two million, and go to Rio.

However, Leo refuses to help Max with his scheme and returns to work the books at Whitehall and Marks, even after much pleading ("We Can Do It"). When he gets back to work, he daydreams of becoming a Broadway producer and "drive [ing] those chorus girls insane." ("I Wanna Be a Producer"). He realizes that his job is terrible, quits his job, and returns to Max ("I Wanna Be A Producer - Reprise/We Can Do It - Reprise"). Overnight, they look for the worst play ever written without much luck. Finally, Max finds the sure-fire flop: "Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden" written by Franz Liebkind. Heading down to the playwright's home in Greenwich Village to get the rights to the play, they discover ex-Nazi Franz on the roof of his tenement with his birds: Hilde, Heidi, Hans, Heidrich and Adolf, reminiscing about the grand old days "In Old Bavaria". After listening to Franz rave, Leo and Max are only able to get their contract signed after singing Adolf Hitler's favourite tune, "Der Guten Tag Hop Clop" with him, and saying the Siegfried Oath, promising never to dishonour "the spirit and the memory of Adolf Elizabeth Hitler" with Franz.

Leo and Max then go down to the townhouse of Roger De Bris, the worst director in New York and a flamboyant homosexual to boot. At first, Roger and his "common law-"ass"istant" Carmen Ghia decline the offer to direct because of the serious subject matter. Shows should be happier, blythe,, Roger avers. ("Keep It Gay") Finally, after much persuading (and Tony-name dropping), Roger agrees to do it, but only if the ending is changed so the Germans end up winning World War II. A celebratory conga line ensues. Leo and Max finally return to the office where they meet a Swedish bombshell who wants to audition for their next play. Her name is Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden Swanson. That's her first name. Ulla for short. She auditions for them. ("When You Got It, Flaunt It") Bialystock and Bloom are floored, to say the least. They hire her to be their secretary/receptionist. Max then goes off to raise two million dollars for "Springtime for Hitler" by calling on all the little old ladies in New York. ("Along Came Bialy") Finally, after shtupping every little old lady in the greater Broadway area, Max has raised the two million. ("Finale")

;Act IILeo and Ulla are left alone for a little while in Max's redecorated office (redecorated by Ulla during the intermission; See Photo right) and they start to fall in love. ("That Face") Leo, who has always decided to stay away from any relationship, breaks his own rule and starts to go out with Ulla. Max walks in on them at the end of the song and sings the reprise when he sees the perfect form of Ulla's rear end "That Face (Reprise)".

The auditions for finding a terrible Hitler go unsuccessfully. One terrible actor after another is shooed away by Roger. After Franz is outraged by one auditioner's rendition of "Haben Sie Gehört Das Deutsche Band", he performs his own jazzy version and he is given the part by Max. Opening night for "Springtime for Hitler" arrives ("It's Bad Luck to Say Good Luck on Opening Night") and everyone is ready, until Franz falls down the stairs and ironically breaks his leg. Roger is the only one who knows the part of Hitler and he rushes to the dressing room to get ready.

The Curtain rises, and Max and Leo watch their failure unfold ("Springtime for Hitler"). Unfortunately, Roger's performance is so campy and so Garland-esque, the audience mistakes the show for a comedy and it becomes the talk of the town.

Back at the office, Max and Leo are near-suicidal. ("Where Did We Go Right?") Roger and Carmen come to congratulate the Producers of the new smash, only to find them fighting over the accounting books. Just then, Franz bursts in, outraged by Roger's portrayal of his beloved Führer and wielding a pistol. The police hear the commotion and arrive, taking away Franz, Max and the accounting books. However, Leo hides and Ulla finds him and convinces him to take the two million dollars and run off to Rio as Max had planned.

In prison, Max receives a postcard from Leo and feels ("Betrayed") and, in his big eleven o'clock number, recounts the whole show (including intermission). At his trial Max is found "incredibly guilty", but then Leo and Ulla arrive and tell the judge that Max is a good man who would never hurt anyone. ("'Til Him") The judge is touched by this and decides not to separate the two, instead sending both (plus Franz) to Sing Sing prison for 5 years. In prison, they write a new musical entitled "Prisoners of Love" which goes to Broadway ("Prisoners of Love") (starring the stars of Springtime, Roger, and Ulla) when they are pardoned by the Governor. Leo and Max continue to produce Broadway musicals and, at the end, the two fully-fledged kings of Broadway walk off into the sunset. ("Leo & Max") After the curtain call, there is one last song, with the cast telling the audience that the Broadway experience is completely unique ("There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway") and that they have to leave. ("Goodbye")

Differences between the original film and stage musical

Although the musical has many scenes and jokes taken directly from the film, there are still many differences. For example, Ulla has a much larger role, as does "Springtime for Hitler" director Roger DeBris. The character Lorenzo St. Dubois (LSD), a hippie who played Hitler in the 1968 movie, does not appear in the new version. Overall the musical is much more upbeat and ends more happily, with even the Nazi character Franz Liebkind being portrayed more sympathetically and getting a happy ending.

List of songs

;Act I
* Overture - Orchestra
* Opening Night - Company
* The King of Broadway - Max and Company
* We Can Do It - Max and Leo
* I Wanna Be a Producer - Leo, Showgirls, and Accountants
* We Can Do It (Reprise) - Leo and Max
* In Old Bavaria - Franz
* Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop - Franz, Leo, and Max
* Keep It Gay - Roger, Carmen, Max, Leo, and Company
* When You've Got It, Flaunt It - Ulla
* Along Came Bialy - Max, and Company;Act II
* That Face- Leo and Ulla
* Haben Sie gehört das deutsche Band? - Franz
* Opening Night (Reprise) - Company
* You Never Say Good Luck on Opening Night - Carmen, Roger, Franz, and Leo
* Springtime for Hitler - Company
* Where Did We Go Right? - Leo and Max
* That Face (Reprise) - Ulla and Leo
* Betrayed - Max
* 'Til Him - Leo and Max
* Prisoners of Love - Company
* Prisoners of Love (Leo and Max) - Max, Leo, and Company
* There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway - Leo, Max, and Company
* Goodbye! - Company

Characters and original Broadway cast

*Max BialystockNathan Lane
*Leopold "Leo" BloomMatthew Broderick
*Roger De BrisGary Beach
*Carmen GhiaRoger Bart
*Ulla Inga Hansen Benson Yansen Tallen Hallen Svaden Swanson "Bloom"Cady Huffman
*Franz LiebkindBrad Oscar

The replacement cast starred Henry Goodman and Steven Weber in Lane and Broderick's respective roles, and the loss of the original stars had a detrimental effect on the success of the production, prompting the return of Lane and Broderick for another run, from December 30, 2003 until April 4, 2004.

Other "Max" performers on Broadway included Tony Danza, John Treacy Egan, Richard Kind, Brad Oscar, and Lewis J. Stadlen. "Leo" players included Roger Bart, Hunter Foster, and Alan Ruck.



The original Broadway production of "The Producers" opened at the St. James Theatre on April 19 2001 and ran for 2,502 performances, closing on April 22 2007. The director and choreographer was Susan Stroman. The show originally starred Nathan Lane as Max Bialystock (who reprised that role during the show's first few months on London's West End) and Matthew Broderick as Leo Bloom. It won 12 Tony Awards, breaking the record held for 37 years by "Hello, Dolly!" which had won 10.

After the opening, "The Producers" broke the record for the largest single day box-office gross in theatre history, taking in more than $3 million. It then broke its own record in 2003 when Broderick and Lane's return went on sale, with over $3.5 million in single day ticket sales.

Beginning in September 2002 there were two touring companies that played 74 cities in the United States grossing over $214 million. [ [ Playbill News: Broadway Record-Breaker The Producers Closes April 22 ] ] The 1st National touring company starred Lewis J. Stadlen and Alan Ruck. When the tour came to Los Angeles, Stadlen and Ruck were replaced by Jason Alexander and Martin Short for the duration of the show's run in that city.

Encouraged by the success of "The Producers", Brooks has created a musical theatre version of "Young Frankenstein", based on his movie of the same name, which opened on Broadway at the Hilton Theatre on November 8, 2007.


, the creator of the role in the New York production, would be stepping in for a limited run.

"The Producers" opened in London's West End at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on November 9 2004 and closed on January 6 2007. In addition to Lane, the production featured Lee Evans as Leo Bloom, Leigh Zimmerman as Ulla, Conleth Hill as Roger De Bris and James Dreyfus as Carmen Ghia. Franz Liebkind was played by Nicolas Colicos. The show enjoyed excellent box office success as it had in New York. Despite the later departure of Lane from the show, it continued to enjoy strong sales. Max Bialystock was later played by Cory English, among others, and Leo Bloom was later played by John Gordon Sinclair and Reece Shearsmith.

UK tour

The tour opened in Manchester for 3 months, commencing 19 February 2007. Peter Kay was cast in the role of Roger De Bris, with Cory English and John Gordon Sinclair reprising their roles of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, respectively. For the majority of the UK tour, running through until early 2008, Joe Pasquale took over the role of Leo Bloom and Russ Abbot played Roger DeBris. The tour's dates at the Bristol Hippodrome were canceled due to reported poor ticket sales. The cast included Cory English as Max Bialystock, Joe Pasquale as Leo Bloom for most of the tour, and Jayne Appleyard as Ulla.

UK Amateur Premiere

Act Too Group staged the first UK amateur production of the musical at the Hawth Theatre in Crawley, West Sussex from the 16 - 20 September 2008 with James Simmonds in the role of Max Bialystock and Nick Pritchard as Leo Bloom.

Other productions

;U.S. productionsOther notable U.S. productions have included the following:

*The Erie, Pennsylvania production is playing at the Erie Playhouse until the 27th of September, starring Chris Bucci as Max Bialystock and Zach Flock as Leo Bloom. 2008

*The Los Angeles, California, production opened on May 2, 2003 at the Pantages Theatre and closed January 4, 2004. Co-starring were Jason Alexander as Max Bialystock and Martin Short as Leo Bloom.

*The Las Vegas, Nevada production opened at Paris Casino on February 9, 2007 and closed on February 9, 2008. It starred Brad Oscar as Bialystock, Larry Raben as Bloom and Leigh Zimmerman as Ulla, with David Hasselhoff receiving top billing as Rober DeBris. The production is a 90-minute version. [ [ article, Feb. 9, 2008] ]

*In 2007, the first U.S. regional production played in Lincolnshire, Illinois at the Marriott Theatre from September 2, 2007 to November 25, 2007 and starred Ross Lehman as Bialystock and Guy Adkins as Bloom. [ [ Information about the regional production in Lincolnshire, Illinois.] ]

*In 2008, Chanhassen Theatres in Chanhassen, Minnesota received the rights to the play; it began playing on October 10. Jay Albright stars as Bialystock and Robb McKindles plays Bloom. [ [] ]

*The show played (to musch acclaim) at Eastlight Theatre in East Peoria, Illinois in June 2008 under the direction of Chip Joyce []

*"The Producers" will be the closing show of the Walnut Street Theatre's Landmark 200th Anniversary Season, it is the only theater in the english speaking world to have reached 200 continuing seasons.

"The Producers" has also been presented professionally in many cities around the world, including Toronto, Berlin, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Christchurch, Tel Aviv, Seoul, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Copenhagen, Milan, Budapest, Madrid, Halifax, Mexico City, Prague, Stockholm, Bratislava, Vienna, Helsinki, Athens, Rio de Janeiro , São Paulo, Caracas, Portugal, and Moscow.

It has been translated into German, Hebrew, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, Danish, Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Slovak, Finnish, Greek, Portuguese, and Russian.

*A 2004 Toronto run, with Seán Cullen as Bialystock and Michael Therriault as Bloom, closed after 33 weeks, two months short of its announced closing. [ [ News from the website] ]

*The Australian run starred Reg Livermore as Bialystock and Tom Burlinson as Bloom. Television veteran Bert Newton played Liebkind. It also featured Chloe Dallimore as Ulla and Tony Sheldon as Roger DeBris. Chloe's Understudy was Deborah Krizak who played the role of Ulla during several performances. There were two USA performers in the cast, Stephany R. Simonelli and Matt Young. The production played in Melbourne for eight months, Brisbane for six weeks and for six months in Sydney.

* A Bratislava, Slovakia production openned in September 19, 2008 at the Istropolis Theatre. Starring Andrej Hryc/Marián Slovák (Max), Csongor Kassai/Tomáš Horváth (Leo), Kristína Farkašová/Eva Sakálová (Ulla), Štefan Skrúcaný/Roman Fedér (Roger), Viktor Horján/Štefan Martinovič (Carmen Gia), Marián Labuda sr./Michal Rovňák (Franz).

* A production arrived in Berlin, Germany in 2005.

* A Swedish version will open in Stockholm at the China Theatre on September 19, 2008. The actors are Claes Malmberg (Max), Kim Sulocki (Leo), Christine Meltzer (Ulla), Magnus Härenstam (Roger), Claes Månsson (Franz) and Ola Forssmed (Carmen).

*Tel Aviv, Israel saw a Hebrew translation starring Shlomo Bar Abba as Bialystock. The Nazi references in the show were modified to account for local sensitivities. Hitler is portrayed as morbidly obese, and whenever the actors mention his name it is followed by 'Yimach shemo vezichro' (may his name and memory be obliterated); then they spit.Fact|date=February 2008

*A production in Athens, Greece opened in October 2007 starring Paulos Haikalis (Max), Antonis Loudaros (Leo), Viky Kagia (Ulla), Apostolos Gkletsos (Franz), Giannis Vouros (Roger DeBris)and Pantelis Kanarakis (Carmen Gia). [ [ Greek Production Information] ]

*A 2005 Buenos Aires, Argentina, production ran at the Lola Membrives Theater, starring comedians Enrique Pinti as Bialystock, Guillermo Francella as Bloom and María Rojí as Ulla.

*A Japanese-language production ran in Tokyo at Aoyama Theatre in August 13–31 2005. It returned for a second run at Tokyo International Forum in February 2008. It starred Yoshihiko Inohara as Bialystock and Hiroshi Nagano as Bloom. Both were members of the popular idol group, V6.

*Copenhagen, Denmark's production premiered at "Det Ny Teater" on January 26 2006. The Danish language production starring Preben Kristensen as Bialystock and Mads Knarreborg as Bloom. The run for the musical was extended twice.
*A Milan, Italy production opened at Teatro della Luna on January 27 2006. It starred Enzo Iacchetti as Bialystock, Gianluca Guidi as Leo Bloom, and Simona Samarelli as Ulla.

*A Budapest, Hungary production premiered at Theatre Madách (Madách Színház) on June 2 2006. Péter Haumann, János Gálvölgyi, and Béla Szerednyei alternate as Max Bialystock; Sándor Nagy, Dávid Sándor, and Vajk Szente alternateg as Leo Bloom; and Nikolett Gallusz, Judit Ladinek and Szonja Oroszlán alternate as Ulla.

* A Madrid, Spain production played at Teatro Coliseum from September 14, 2006 to May 6, 2007. It starred Santiago Segura as Bialystock, José Mota as Bloom, and Dulcinea Juárez as Ulla.
*The Mexico City run, produced by OCESA Teatro, opened at Centro Cultural Telmex on December 13, 2006. It starred Pedro Armendáriz Jr. and Alejandro Calva alternating as Bialystock; Adal Ramones, Héctor Sandarti and Juan Manuel Bernal alternating as Bloom; and Natalia Sosa as Ulla.

*The New Zealand production played at the Court Theatre in Christchurch from November 24, 2007 to February 16, 2008, directed by Sandra Rasmussen. It starred Steven Ray as Bialystock, Cameron Douglas as Bloom, Sia Trokenheim as Ulla, Jon Pheloung as Franz Liebkind and Keith Adams as Roger DeBris.

*The Czech version is running in Karlin Musical Theatre in Prague.

*A production opened in Finland on August 30, 2007. It was performed in Helsinki City Theatre (Helsingin kaupunginteatteri). The production closed on May 24, 2008. [ [ Information about the Finnish production] ]

*The Rio de Janeiro, Brazil production has the same cast as the São Paulo, and debuted on April 2008 in the theatre house Vivo Rio.

*The São Paulo, Brazil production stars Miguel Falabella as Bialystock, Vladimir Brichta as Bloom, and Juliana Paes as Ulla.

*A German-language Viennese production is scheduled to open at the Ronacher theatre production on June 30, 2008. [ [ Vereinigte Bühnen Wien - 2008 Viennese production] ] .

*The Venezuelan production starts on April 12, 2008 at the "Aula Magna" of the UCV (Central University of Venezuela), at Caracas, the stars: Roque Valero as Leo Bloom, Armando Cabrera as Max Bialystock, and Fabiola Colmenares as Ulla.

*A Portuguese production opens in November 2008 in Linda-a-Velha.

*A Russian production opens in Moscow in February 2009.

Movie adaptation

In 2005, the musical was adapted into a musical film, becoming a movie based on a musical based on a movie about a musical. It was directed by Stroman and starred most of the original Broadway cast, except for Oscar and Huffman. Their roles were instead played by Will Ferrell and Uma Thurman, respectively. The songs "King of Broadway", "In Old Bavaria" and "Where Did We Go Right?" were not in the theatrical cut of the movie, although "King of Broadway" and "In Old Bavaria" appeared on the DVD as deleted scenes. Instead, two original songs, "You'll Find Your Happiness In Rio" and "There's Nothing Like A Show On Broadway" were added to the film. It opened on December 16, 2005 and received mixed reviews from critics.

Popular culture

On the television show "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "The Producers" was featured in almost every episode of season four. Larry David was offered the part of Max Bialystock by Mel Brooks, the part of Leo Bloom was occupied by Ben Stiller. When David and Stiller have a falling out, Stiller gets replaced by David Schwimmer. The story took a unique turn when Larry David's attempt to play the part is marred by his missing lines. However, he makes up some ad-lib comedy that keeps the audience laughing. In a "life imitating art" twist, it's revealed that Brooks cast David specifically so he would fail, end the show and "free" Brooks of its success. Brooks is seen at the theater bar with wife Anne Bancroft, both laughing at how bad David is and they no longer have to travel to every city for a premiere. Of course, David ends up being a hit and Mel leads Anne out, both weakly muttering "no way out..." This was Bancroft's final filmed appearance before her death.

In an episode of House, when Gregory House and James Wilson finish a job interview, as soon as the young lady they were interviewing leaves, Dr. Wilson quotes the musical by exclaiming "That's our Hitler!"

Awards and nominations

Tony Awards
*Tony Award for Best Musical WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Original Score WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Matthew Broderick)
*Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Nathan Lane) WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Roger Bart)
*Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Gary Beach) WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Brad Oscar)
*Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Cady Huffman) WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Scenic Design WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Costume Design WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Lighting Design WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Choreography WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical WINNER
*Tony Award for Best Orchestrations WINNER

Drama Desk Awards
* Outstanding New Musical (WINNER)
* Outstanding Book of a Musical (WINNER)
* Outstanding Actor in a Musical - Nathan Lane (WINNER); Matthew Broderick (nominee)
* Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical - Gary Beach (WINNER); Roger Bart (nominee)
* Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (WINNER)
* Outstanding Choreography (WINNER)
* Outstanding Director of a Musical (WINNER)
* Outstanding Orchestrations (WINNER)
* Outstanding Lyrics (WINNER)
* Outstanding Set Design of a Musical (WINNER)
* Outstanding Costume Design (WINNER)
* Outstanding Lighting Design (nominee)

New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical of the season


External links

*ibdb title|12826|The Producers
* [ Curtain Up reviews and information of various productions]
* [ PBS Great Performances "Recording the Producers"]
* [ Official site for the London production]
* [ Roger Bart and Brad Oscar ] - "Downstage Center" interview at American Theatre
* [ Official site for the Hungarian production]
* [ Official site for the Venezuelan production]

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