Behind the Curtain

Oct 29 - Nov 16: New Stages Festival

Goodman Theatre's New Stages Festival
Founded in 2004, the New Stages Festival is a celebration of innovative new plays designed to give playwrights an opportunity to take risks and experiment.

New Stages offers Chicago theatergoers a first look at dozens of plays, many of which have gone on to become successful full productions—including Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Ruined.

Join Goodman Theatre for this year’s festival, which features an exciting roster of developmental productions and staged readings.

Click here for a full line-up and to reserve your free tickets.
New Stages runs October 29 through November 16, 2014.


Artist Encounter: New Stages
Sunday, Nov 2 | 4:00pm | Chicago Cultural Center: Garland Room, 78 E Washington, Chicago

Join Goodman for a discussion featuring the directors and playwrights from the New Stages workshop productions:
Charise Castro Smith and Henry Godinez (Feathers and Teeth)
Thomas Bradshaw and Benjamin Kamine (Carlyle)
Andrew Hinderaker and Halena Kays (The Magic Play)

Moderated by Director of New Play Development Tanya Palmer.
Click here to reserve free tickets.

Oct 28: Free TimePieces Play Reading

TimeLine Theatre Company's TIMEPIECES Play Reading Series
The series offers audiences a chance to hear new or rarely produced plays inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago

by Anna Ziegler directed by Damon Kiely

1968. A child is born. A terrible accident occurs. Desperate parents turn to a famed doctor for help. The story that follows is a heartbreaking tale of nature, nurture and the indefinable things that make us who we are. Featuring a cast of actors you've seen on TimeLine's stage before, including Lawrence Grimm (My Name is Asher Lev), Rob Fagin (The Farnsworth Invention), Kat McDonnell (Dolly West's Kitchen) and Bret Tuomi (Enron).

Also includes a brief post-show discussion to give you a chance to reflect on the piece and the themes and issues it presents.

FREE and open to the public. Reservations strongly recommended; seating is limited!
For reservations, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or email

Oct 31: Chicago Movie Sing-A-Long & 1920s Costume Party

Jazz up Halloween with the Auditorium Theatre this year!
This Halloween, Auditorium Theatre launches its “Made in Chicago” Movie Series, a series of free screenings of movies set or made in Chicago.

Friday, October 31, 2014
6pm Speakeasy
7pm Film Begins
at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
50 E. Congress Pkwy, Chicago

It all starts in the Auditorium Theatre's lobby speakeasy, where you'll sip period cocktails from the cash bar, strut your flapper dresses, tassels and fedoras, and move to the sultry crooning of cabaret artist Kimberly Lawson.

Then it's into the theatre for a spectacular sing-along screening of the smoking hot Oscar-winning movie musical Chicago while the live-action Merry Murderess Dancers will have you doing the Charleston in the aisle.

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:
Best Dressed
Most Creative
Best Group Costumes

Free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

Oct 23: The World of 'The Night Alive'

EXPLORE: The world of THE NIGHT ALIVE at Steppenwolf Theatre
The Night Alive is now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre through November 16, 2014.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

at Steppenwolf's Rehearsal Hall
758 W North Ave. (at the corner of North & Halsted), Chicago

Grab a drink and join Steppenwolf for their first-ever McPherson Slam as Chicago director Matt Miller emcees, Chicago’s hottest actors blaze up Conor McPherson’s greatest scenes. Enjoy Kilmaley, one of Chicago’s coolest traditional Irish bands, a stand-up set from Chicago Irish comedian Adam Burke, a chance to practice your own Irish brogue with professional dialect coach Eva Breneman, plus a few other surprises.

Explore events are FREE, but space is limited.
RSVP to reserve your spot today by calling Audience Services at 312–335–1650.

Oct 15: #Stage37 Performance

Adventure Stage Chicago will present a sneak peek of Theater Unspeakable's THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION as part of Block Thirty Seven's #Stage37 performances series.‪

Positioned conveniently between the CTA’s red and blue lines, the pedway level of Block Thirty Seven at 108 N. State is the place to experience free live pop-up entertainment during lunchtime and rush hour on select dates throughout the fall.

Hot Tix is proud to present this performance as part of #Stage37 series. Before you hop on the train, stop by for a taste of theatre, dance, comedy, music, and more!

Wednesday, October 15 at 12:00pm – Adventure Stage Chicago and Theater Unspeakable
7 actors. 21 square feet of space. 2 feet off the ground. With only the actors bodies and voices, Adventure Stage Chicago and Theater Unspeakable bring a 15-minute pop-up performance of THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION to Stage 37.

Come upstairs before or after to snag some half-price tickets at Hot Tix (open 10am-6pm).

Oct 12: Between the Lines

A lecture around Remy Bumppo's production of Both Your Houses
Remy Bumppo’s 2014/2015 'Between the Lines' event presents guest speakers, noted experts in a range of fields, who share insights on the play in a pre-show lecture. Both Your Houses runs now through November 9, 2014.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, Chicago

1933. In Anderson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning satire, even a leading member admits Congress is a cauldron of “graft, special privilege, and corruption.” Strange expenditures for special interests abound. No surprise there. Enter a crusading young congressman, so straight he opposes a project in his own district, even probing his own campaign donors – long before Mr. Smith went to Washington. Our hero is on the verge of excising the pork when a key vote is suddenly reversed. But fear not – on the verge of defeat, the crusader comes up with a plan so outlandish it’s bound to save Congress from itself! Or is it?

The pre-show lecture is free and open to the public.

Oct 12: A Tale of Two Plays

A Tale of Two Plays: Chicago Theatre and the Works of Lucas Hnath
Isaac's Eye is playing now through December 7, 2014 at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, IL
Death Tax is playing now through October 12, 2014 at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, IL

Sunday, October 12, 2014

at Lookingglass Theatre
821 N. Michigan, Chicago

Chicago’s theatrical institutions have embraced the words of budding playwright Lucas Hnath. Join in a conversation between Heidi Stillman (Lookingglass Theatre Director, Death Tax) and Michael Halberstam (Writers Theatre Director, Isaac’s Eye) as they discuss the similarities, differences, and shared themes of these Hnath plays, and why each story resonates for Chicago theatre-goers today.

FREE. No RSVP required.

Oct 9: Adapting Native Son

A conversation around Court Theatre's NATIVE SON featuring distinguished guest lecturers
Professor Kenneth Warren will engage scholars Arnold Rampersad emeritus Stanford University and Melissa Barton Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in a discussion about Native Son. Native Son runs now through October 19, 2014.

Thursday, October 9, 2014
6:30 - 8:30pm

at The DuSable Museum of African American History
740 E. 56th Place, Chicago

On October 9, join Court Theatre and The DuSable Museum for a conversation on 'Adapting Native Son'. Featuring distinguished lecturers:

Arnold Rampersad, Emeritus Stanford University, - He has also taught at Rutgers University, Columbia University, and Princeton University. He is the author of Ralph Ellison, a biography of the novelist (1914 - 1994). His other books include The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. DuBois (1976); The Life of Langston Hughes (2 vols., 1986, 1988); Days of Grace: A Memoir (1993), co-authored with Arthur Ashe; and Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997). In addition, he has edited several volumes including Collected Poems of Langston Hughes; the Library of America edition (2 vols.) of works by Richard Wright, with revised individual editions of Native Son and Black Boy; and (as co-editor with Deborah McDowell) Slavery and the Literary Imagination. He was also co-editor, with Shelley Fisher Fishkin, of the Race and American Culture book series published by Oxford University Press. His teaching covers such areas as nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature; American autobiography; race and American literature; and African-American literature. From 1991 to 1996, he held a MacArthur Foundation fellowship. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is a 2010 recipient of the National Humanities Medal.

Melissa Barton, PhD, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library - is Curator of Prose & Drama for Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. She earned her PhD in 2013 from the Department of English at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation, "Staging Liberation: Race, Representation, and Forms of American Theatre, 1934-1965," explored the relation of politics and drama in the “Negro People's Theatres” from the Great Depression to the Civil Rights Movement. In her third chapter , “‘The Problem of the Hero’: Liberating Bigger Thomas on Stage,” she examines the process of adapting Richard Wright’s Native Son to the stage as part of the Negro People’s Theatres’ transition from productions that celebrated collective action to more strictly realist productions that focused on individual character psychology.

Nambi Kelley, playwright and adapter of Native Son now playing at the Court Theater. Moderated by Kenneth W. Warren; Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Department of English University of Chicago. Nambi has penned plays for Steppenwolf, Goodman Theatre, and Court Theatre in Chicago, Lincoln Center in New York, and internationally. Most recently, her adaptation of Native Son is being presented at Court Theatre with American Blues Theatre. Kelley returned to Singapore to perform in her co-adaptation of The Book of Living and Dying that will be published in an anthology of plays in Singapore in 2014. Nambi is also a professional actress, and has a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University, and an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College.


Kenneth W. Warren - Fairfax M. Caone Distinguished Service Professor, Department of English, University of Chicago. Kenneth Warren specializes in African-American literature and 19th- and 20th-century American literature and critical theory. His work has ranged from studying such major 20th-century writers as Leon Forrest and Ralph Ellison to such 19th-century critics as William Dean Howells. Warren is a member of the editorial boards of the Cambridge Series of American Literature and American Literary History.He is the author of So Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison and the Occasion of Criticism (University of Chicago Press, 2003) and Black and White Strangers: Race and American Literary Realism (University of Chicago Press, 1993). He has been at Chicago since 1991.

Free and open to the public. To RSVP, click here.

Oct 5: Inside the Work of Lucas Hnath

Go 'Inside the Work' with playwright Lucas Hnath
Isaac's Eye is playing now through December 7, 2014 at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, IL
Death Tax is playing now through October 12, 2014 at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, IL

Sunday, October 5, 2014

at Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe, IL

Join Michael Halberstam (director of Isaac’s Eye) and Heidi Stillman (director of Lucas Hnath's Death Tax at Lookingglass Theatre Company) for a lively discussion about interpreting and staging the stylistically innovative works of playwright Lucas Hnath, one of the most exciting writers working today.

FREE but RSVP is required. Email or call 847-242-6018 to RSVP.

Oct 5: Dead or Alive: Taxed by Death

A free discussion around Lookingglass Theatre's production of Death Tax
Lookingglass Theatre's production of Death Tax closes on October 12, 2014.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

at Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan, Chicago

When we engage with rivals, we sometimes lose our best selves. In Death Tax, the central character challenges humanity’s ultimate rival: death. What is permitted when good people seek to defeat death? What happens to relationships when the truth is expendable and money is no object?

Don’t miss this discussion between Director Heidi Stillman and Raven Foundation Founder Suzanne Ross about rivalry and self-deception in a play that begs the question: if you live your life in order to defeat death, are you as good as dead already?

Free and open to the public. Seating is subject to availability.

Oct 6-7: Dreams: Plagiarizing Reality

Salon XLII: Dreams: Plagiarizing Reality
Join The Plagiarists and a group of specially selected artists from many different disciplines as they explore dreams and the journey we all make as we cross back and forth between the subconscious and the "real world."

October 6 and 7, 2014

at The Black Rock Pub & Grill
3614 N. Damen, Chicago, IL 60618

A fine line between the conscious and unconscious, a permeable membrane where the real world and the fantastic meet and mix without rules or preconditions. our dreams often mirror or bend reality in ways that provide insight, terror, embarrassment, anger, nostalgia, sadness, and even ecstasy. But, whether you wake up screaming, crying, or beaming with delight, dreaming lets us cross over into the depths of our subconscious minds and lets our subconscious cross over into the real world.

Produced as part of Chicago Artists Month.

Free and open to the public.

Sept 29: "Alive Inside" Screening

Free Film Screening: ALIVE INSIDE
A public program for Rest, playing at Victory Gardens Theater Sept 12 - Oct 12, 2014. Connecting the theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs events bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between audiences and productions.

Monday, September 29, 2014

at Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614

Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia — many of them alone in nursing and assisted living facilities. This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.

The recipient of the “Audience Award” at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Alive Inside is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity.

Free and open to the public.
To RSVP, visit

Sept 20: Stories Come Alive!

Free drama games in Rogers Park with Lifeline Theatre's THE VELVETEEN RABBIT
Lifeline's fall children's adaptation runs October 18-November 23, 2014.

Saturday, September 20, 2014
10:00am - 11:00am

at the Rogers Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library
6907 N. Clark, Chicago

Lifeline actors will read from Margery Williams' beloved book, The Velveteen Rabbit, and play drama games with children of all ages (parents welcome, too).

Admission is free and open to the public.
For further information, call Lifeline's box office at 773-761-4477.

Sept 20: Welcome to China

A panel discussion at Goodman Theatre
The World of Extreme Happiness, a provocative examination of individuals struggling to shape their destinies amid China's dizzying economic transformation, runs at Goodman Theatre September 13 - October 12, 2014.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

at Goodman's Owen Theatre
170 N. Dearborn, Chicago

On September 20, join Goodman Theatre for a pre-show lecture and conversation about contemporary China, featuring playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, her father David Cowhig, and Chinese activist Dr. Shuping Wang.

Free and open to the public. To reserve your tickets, click here.

Sept: Saturday Series

Chicago Dramatists' Saturday Series: SEPTEMBER
Playwrights, theatre artists, and the general public convene in the Chicago Dramatists' theatre to witness the birth of a new work for the stage and to participate in its development by offering feedback to its playwright. The plays are always directed and rehearsed and are presented with minimal staging. After each reading, the audience members are invited to fill out written response sheets and to join in a post-reading discussion.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Suffer The Long Night
by Resident Playwright MARY RUTH CLARKE and GREG GLIENNA
Directed by PAT McKENNA

From the creators of Meet the Parents: an onstage traumedy. It is opening night of the Merrillville Merry Art Players’ production of that classic suspense thriller, Suffer the Long Night. Alas, due to a nasty flu epidemic, there’s a few last-minute cast and crew changes, but in true showbiz fashion, the show must go on! The actors valiantly play their parts, desperate to keep the play going, as everything that can go wrong does. For anyone who’s ever dared to step on stage; for everyone who loves to watch!

MARY RUTH CLARKE co-wrote and starred in the original MEET THE PARENTS and co-adapted it into the blockbuster version, starring Robert De Niro. Her play BONHOEFFER’S COST was recently produced at Provision Theater in Chicago, and will be produced at Beacon Theater Productions in Philadelphia and Austin Actors Co-op in 2015. She has been a script doctor for many screenplays, including A GUY THING, DESPERATION BOULEVARD, and THE GODFATHER OF GREEN BAY. She is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, where she teaches screenwriting. She is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America East, and the Dramatists Guild.

GREG GLIENNA’s feature-length, original version of MEET THE PARENTS, co-written with Mary Ruth Clarke, was brought to the attention of Universal Studios by director Steven Soderburgh, where it was remade into a big-budget success. His other films as writer/director are DESPERATION BOULEVARD and RELATIVE STRANGERS. He also wrote the original script for A GUY THING, which starred Jason Lee and Julia Styles. Greg is an accomplished singer/songwriter/pianist and performs regularly in the Chicago and Los Angeles area.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Red Rock
by Resident Playwright JAYME McGHAN
Directed by Associate Artistic Director RACHEL EDWARDS HARVITH

A fast-living hedge fund manager in Las Vegas is presented with an incredible short-sale stock scheme by his ex-fiancé and best friend that will collectively make them millions of dollars in two days’ time. But there are a number of substantial personal debts looming over him that he can’t seem to get out from under. And there’s a shadowy man in a trench coat lurking on the edge of the desert that demands the greatest payment of all. Red Rock is a wild, hilarious, hard-hitting glimpse into the dissolute world of on-the-fringe finance.

JAYME MCGHAN’s plays have been produced and developed across the country at such theatres as Irish Repertory Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Washington Shakespeare Company, Stage Left Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Mortar Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre, Hot City Theatre, Yellow Tree Theatre, Cockroach Theatre, Nevada Conservatory Theatre, and many more. His plays include THE FISHERMAN, MOTHER BEAR, HELLFIRE, THE METHUSELAH TREE, AUTONOMY, THE SWEET STUFF, IN THE SOUNDLESS AWE, and DAMN THE RIVER DEEP. Four of his plays are published. Jayme currently serves as an Associate Professor of Theatre at Concordia University-Chicago, as well as the Artistic Director of the Theatre Program. He is also a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and an Artistic Associate with Stage Left Theatre. His work is represented by Leah Hamos of Abrams Artists Agency, NY. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is blessed to be married to his beautiful wife Julie. They welcomed their son, Levi, into the world earlier this year.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Horrible Weapons of the Future
by Network Playwright MICHAEL HIGGINS
Directed by Associate Artist RICHARD SHAVZIN

A young scientist on the run from the authorities lands in the underground lair of a secret military contractor. There she finds bizarre technology, treacherous coworkers, and only one way out: Build the ultimate weapon. A workplace comedy about war, peace, and ray guns.

MICHAEL HIGGINS is a Network Playwright whose play, SUPER WINNING MADE EASY, received a staged reading in May at Chicago Dramatists. His 10-minute comic plays "Fitness Blow 6000" and "When Killer Animals Go Nuts" have been read at Chicago Dramatists and produced at The Second City Training Center.

These events are FREE and open to the public.

Sept 15: Forever by Dael Orlandersmith

Get a Sneak Peek at Dael Orlandersmith’s New Play
Goodman Theatre's All-New Fall will feature several special events dedicated to fostering new work. These events kick off on September 15 with a free preview presentation of Forever, a new play written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith (Black N Blue Boys/Broken Men).

Monday, September 15, 2014

at Goodman's Owen Theatre
170 N. Dearborn, Chicago

Award-winning playwright/performer Dael Orlandersmith (Stoop Stories, Black N' Blue Boys/Broken Men) returns to the Goodman to share her latest work before it premieres in Los Angeles and New York later this season.

Set in Paris in the famed Père Lachaise Cemetery, Forever examines the way we form powerful bonds with people who, though unrelated to us by blood, come to feel like family. While Observing strangers who have traveled to the cemetery to pay homage to their favorite artist, Orlandersmith investigates the complex legacy she received from her mother, a legacy of bitterness and abuse but also or art and beauty.

To reserve your free tickets, click here.

Sept 23: Creating A Modern Dionysian Festival

Creating A Modern Dionysian Festival: Sean Graney on 'All Our Tragic'
Playwright and director Sean Graney will be talking about the creative process behind adapting all 32 Greek tragedies for The Hypocrites' ALL OUR TRAGIC and how it reflects the original festivals of Dionysus.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

at The Arts Club of Chicago
201 E. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60622

Playwright and director Sean Graney has built a reputation for creating thrilling, vibrant adaptations of the classics.

Currently receiving its premiere by Chicago’s The Hypocrites, ALL OUR TRAGIC is his most ambitious project yet, adapting all 32 surviving Greek tragedies into one 12-hour epic of "slaughter, sex and sublimity."

Reflecting the components of a Dionysian festival, the production depicts excess: in duration, eating, drinking (there will be lots of beer), and even possibly sleeping. However, the festivals were also civic arenas in which theater served to fuel discussion about important contemporary issues.

Sean Graney will discuss his process of adaptation and how the play, ALL OUR TRAGIC mirrors the original components of the Festival of Dionysus.

This event is brought to you by The Illinois Humanities Council, an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to strengthening society by fueling inquiry and conversation about the ideas and works that shape our culture. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

This event is free to the public, though registration is required.
Registration can be made by visiting or emailing:

Sept 15: Spotlight on Sam

Spotlight on Sam: A Reading of Sam Hunter's CLARKSTON
A public program for Rest, playing at Victory Gardens Theater Sept 12 - Oct 12, 2014. Connecting the theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs events bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between audiences and productions.

Monday, September 15, 2014

at Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614

“There’s just nothing left to discover.” Two young men working the night shift in Clarkston, Washington find this might be true of America, but not necessarily of each other. In association with Pavement Group’s Crush Play Series, join Victory Gardens for a reading of playwright Sam Hunter’s new play Clarkston.

Free and open to the public.
To RSVP, visit

Sept 14: Aging Together

Aging Together: Senior Healthcare in America
A public program for Rest, playing at Victory Gardens Theater Sept 12 - Oct 12, 2014. Connecting the theater to the world beyond the stage and rehearsal room, Public Programs events bridge ideas, provoke dialogue, and deepen the relationship between audiences and productions.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

at Victory Gardens Theater
2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60614

An aging nation that’s living longer but with growing rates of mental and physical health complications points to an emerging health care crisis. With nearly 8 in 10 seniors living with at least one chronic health condition today, are senior citizens left in the shadows of a national cry for healthcare reformation?

Join Victory Gardens for this town hall discussion as they explore the various effects of aging in conversation with access to healthcare.

Free and open to the public.
To RSVP, visit

Sept 7: Play Rites! The Arsonists

Strawdog Theatre Company presents PLAY RITES! The Arsonists
Play Rites is a free series of conversations, visual displays, and events, designed around Strawdog’s productions. The Arsonists is currently running through September 27, 2014.

Sunday, September 7, 2014
(following the Sunday 4:00pm performance)
at Strawdog Theatre
3829 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613

Strawdog Theatre welcomes Dr. Eugene Beiriger to their panel - Dr. Beiriger is an Associate Professor of History at DePaul University, where he specializes in the origins of the First and Second World War, Origins and Course of Totalitarian Dictatorship, and 20th Century European Political and Diplomatic History. He will be joined by Ensemble Members Mike Mroch (Set Design) and Scott Danielson (Schmitz) and actor Rob Kauzlaric (Biedermann) for a discussion about the play, and the truth of how good people can be taken in by those who would cause destruction.

No ticket required for this event. It is free to the public and runs about one hour. Join Strawdog for an open bar and hors d'oeuvres. For more information, click here.
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