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October 28, 2012

Ok. I am officially the worst blogger EVER.  I can't believe I haven't written a blog since February. Well...in my defense, a lot has happened and I have been PREGNANT, so I've been a little pre-occupied! ;-)

Many of you know that we are expecting our first child!  It's very exciting! We are having a little girl and she is due December 2...only 5 weeks from now! I can't believe it! I feel as big as a house and supposedly I get even bigger so no big surprise I'm not singing much or doing much in regards to gigs.  But I was keeping pretty busy up till now, so here’s a recap….

I closed out “Priscilla” on Broadway in my 18th week. I was going to leave earlier because I was having a rough time. My first trimester was all nausea and exhaustion and eight shows a week was killing me! But then we got our closing notice and I really wanted to push through and close out the show so I did. The cast was great and so supportive. My girls there really took care of me and helped me along!  I look back on it and I can’t believe I made it through. I was sleepwalking at times. I swear, I have never experienced exhaustion like that. Those of you who have been pregnant I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about. All I could stomach was bread and cheese and there I was dancing the disco and barely making it up the stairs to the stage on time! I was not the happiest Marion around in those times. Ginger ale and saltines got me through! But in the end I’m glad I made it. I had a great time in the show. The cast was wonderful and it really was a fun show to do every night. Can’t go wrong with disco and a feel good story. The crowd loved it every night and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it!

Through June and July I had fun singing at some benefits and gigs. My energy definitely got better once I stopped the show and hit my second trimester. I felt like a new woman…besides my stomach growing my little alien. ;-)

Top of August I got to play Cathy again in one of my favorite shows “The Last Five Years.”  I had been asked to do this one night reading in the Hamptons months before and I had mentioned that I was pregnant, but lucky for me no one seemed to care and they still wanted me to do it. I’m sure I am the only pregnant Cathy ever to do that show. I was about 5 ½ months, so you could definitely tell and it added a new layer to the story I must say. ;-)  But I had a blast singing it again…and not bad to have a weekend in the Hamptons either.

Finally my last gig I just finished was in September. I did my first “Wicked Divas” concert in Nebraska. The concert is a Glinda and an Elphaba singing Broadway diva tunes and of course doing some Wicked tunes at the end. It was a blast and it was fun to reconnect with Ali Mauzey. She’s a riot and her soprano is ridiculous.  I will say traveling when you’re 7 months prego is not my favorite thing in the world, but it was worth the trip. And people really love seeing a big pregnant woman screaming her face off.  I sold every last CD I brought and there is nothing like singing with a live orchestra. It’s one of my favorite things! So I really look forward to doing it again

I will say baby girl had fun at that gig. Usually she is really quiet and doesn’t move at all when I’m singing, but the funniest thing happened during rehearsal for the gig. There is one disco number. It’s that duet “Enough is Enough”  originally sung by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer. We started the tune and it starts off real slow, then as soon as the disco kicked in and I started singing “…if you’ve had enough, don’t put up with his stuff don’t you do it..” all of a sudden baby girl started freaking out! And I mean FREAKING out! Like I said…she usually doesn’t even move when I sing, so it caught me off guard and she was having a serious dance party as soon as that disco beat kicked in and she continued to dance it out through the entire tune. I found it hysterical and I couldn’t help but think that it was connected to that fact that she heard disco music eight times a week at Priscilla during her whole first trimester. They say connections like that are made in the womb and I swear she is gonna be a disco diva! ;-)  It’s amazing to me! I can’t wait to get her here and play some disco tunes and see what she does. I’m assuming she will perk right up and dance it out! ;-)

So I have a few more of the “Wicked Divas” concerts booked for after the new year which is nice to look forward to because I don’t really know my plan as to when I will get back to a show. It will be a fun adventure toting along the little one cause the first concert is as early as late January, so I get to bring her along.  I think it will be great to do the gig again and I’m sure it will feel nice to get back in the swing of things.  So come if you can! I will be in Illinois, Louisianna and Minnesota. Stay tuned for dates and locations.

So that’s the update!  After that last gig I have been focused on getting ready for baby girl! We took birthing classes and we are preparing the nursery (cramming into our little one bedroom. How very NY of us! ;-) )  But it’s all gonna be worth it when she arrives. I can’t wait!

I will do my best to update on here with some pics when she arrives and if you’re not my friend on FB or Twitter make sure to get on there cause I know we will put pics up there as well.  Happy winter to you and all…. and next time I see you I will be a MAMA!! ;-)

Have a great holiday season!  Xo Julie


 
February 14, 2012

Ok! Here I am! Things have finally calmed down enough to write up a blog to share with you all the craziness that has occurred! ;-)

So I was doing On a Clear Day and we were preparing to close. A show that closed too soon. I really did have a great time over there and I enjoyed the show so much. Everyone was terrific and I'm still sad at the fact that I never got to perform as "Melinda."  I would have loved to have had my shot at that great role. But I had fun rehearsing and a great time with all my pals on the 7th floor. I made some great friends and am grateful for the experience.

On our last Saturday at OACD I get a call from my agent asking if I'd be interested in replacing Jessica Phillips over at Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It came as a bit of a surprise because I had been in to audition for Priscilla numerous times before it came to Broadway, but it was for a Diva. I never read for Marion which is what Jessica played, so I was surprised by the call but excited at the prospect...especially since I was about to be unemployed by Monday.  I mean, who doesn't want to get a gig without having to audition again. ;-)  So I say yes, definitely interested and he says ok...I'll get back to you.

Then Sunday, our last day at OACD I get a call that they are wanting me to go over to the Palace Theatre and try on Jessica's costumes. And that it sounded like if they fit I got the gig. Oh...and that the gig starts tomorrow! (Whaaaa?! ;-) )

So I get a call right before the final show is starting saying they wanted me to come over to the Palace during intermission. I head over and they took my measurements and that was that because  I wasn't able to try on her costumes because she was in the show. Then I head back to my theatre thinking I won't hear anything till tomorrow and sure enough, as I sit down in my seat for the second act, I get a call saying that the costumes fit!! In my agents words "The costumes fit! Just like Cinderella and the glass slipper!"  They want you to start tomorrow at 1:30. Official offer will come in the morning. Oh...and they want you to learn it in a week. (Errrr! Sound of tires screeching in my head and panic sets in. Whhaa!!?? Oh goodness.)  Well...ok, I say. I know myself and I knew that if it was possible I could pull it off. So I enjoyed the last night with my OACD folks and took in all the love and congrats from everyone. Felt pretty great to book another gig on the closing night. An actor always needs a job...so I was a lucky girl!

Monday comes and we settle the offer and I head to work. No rest for the weary! ;-) The whole thing was such a surreal whirlwind. I rehearsed all day then watched the show for the first time that night. It's such a blast! I had never seen it before so I really didn't know what I was getting into except that it was a lot of Aussie accent, disco music and drag queens. But I was pleasantly surprised by the great time I had. And such fun to watch some of my friends up there peforming, as I knew Will Swenson from my BKLYN days and I knew Jessica Phillips who I was replacing as well. So it was good fun to see them perform.

The week continued and I'm not gonna lie, come Wednesday/Thursday I was having some serious breakdowns. I just wasn't sure I could pull it off. Although I'm cast as Marion, which is a small role,  the track also does A LOT of other things. Among them dancing in many ensemble numbers and appearing as Elvis, a cowgirl, a sleezy bar girl, a paintbrush, a gumby dancer and a hillbilly. So there was a lot more to learn than just my four Marion scenes. Had that been the gig it would have been cake!.....but it was all the ensemble stuff that was freaking me out. My head was exploding and on top of the dance numbers, I also double all the singing of the Diva's on stage....so total we are talking like 25 songs to learn in a week along with all the dancing. Panic!!!

So I crammed and crammed. Bless my husband Rob who put up with me that week. Tending to me and getting me anything I needed. It was all about me and my work and I really realized what a zone I get into. When I'm working and need to learn something it is ALL about that. No time for much else...let alone food or drink. ;-)  So thanks to Rob I didn't starve cause I would have totally forgotten to eat I'm sure.

The week flew by and Monday was approaching fast. They weren't sure they would have costumes for me by then. The costume and hair dept was working overtime trying to get all my stuff ready. And my brain just wasn't retaining everything I wanted either...especially those damn paintbrushes! (come see the show and you will know what I'm talking about ;-) )  But I was lucky to have the support of the great team over at Priscilla. The cast was so supportive and welcoming and the stage management team was awesome! They made it clear that there was no pressure to do everything Monday. I would do Marion for sure then what ever else I was comfortable with.

Then Monday came (so much sooner than I ever could have imagined! And I was still living in surreal land too by the way. This whole whirlwind tour of learning this thing was baffling that it was happening so fast!  Wasn't I just in OACD??!!  ;-) )  So my put-in was scheduled for Monday (a put-in is where the entire cast is called in so that you can do your show in costume with all your changes and timing and with bodies) and magically Sunday I realized I might be able to actually do everything. I had met with a dialect coach which eased my nerves about learning the Aussie accent so fast. So I felt solid with that. And the paintbrushes...which were the bain of my existence there for a while....seemed to finally be sticking. Now I just needed to do it with the costume and make sure I didn't knock anyone over. (once again...come see the show and you will def know what I'm referring to ;-) )

So I did the put-in and made it thru the entire show without any major snags so that meant.... game on! In just a couple hours I would be making my debut as Marion, etc having learned it in one week. I was terrified and excited all at once. So grateful for it all and just didn't want to screw anything up! ;-)

The show went great. I'm a perfectionist...and it wasn't perfect, but I also knew I couldn't expect that. I was in my head for sure, very focused to just get thru it and not knock anyone over, forget any lines or miss an entrance. And all went well with that thank god! ;-)  Now I am a week in and I am finally starting to settle a bit. When you cram something that hard down your throat it takes some time to settle in you because it's still just short term memory learning, so it doesn't really stick with you until you get it in your body. So I am happy to say that now I'm a bit more relaxed and enjoying myself more.

So that's the whirlwind tale of me joining Priscilla. ;-)  Hope you can come see the show! I'm so happy and grateful to be performing on Broadway every night. This is my first time on Broadway where I get to work every night and have my own role all to myself. So I'm a very happy girl!!! Cheers to blessings and hard work and I hope to see you all at Priscilla soon at The Palace Theatre!!

LoVe!! ;-)

 

 
December 9, 2011

Wassup everybody! It’s blog time! And yes…as usual…been way too long and much has happened. But I was a little busy making an album, getting married, doing some shows and shooting a commercial. So I have a little excuse at least ;-)

First and most importantly….I’m a married lady!! The wedding was amazing! We got married in the Catskills on Oct. 15, 2011. It was beautiful and perfect in every way. Happiest day of my life so far and I’m one lucky lady having found my man Rob Bennett. So all is wonderful and lovey dovey on the married front. Our honeymoon was lovely and much needed cruising wine country and down the PCH in CA, then onto Maui for a week. It was heaven…what a wonderful time in my life.

Right before the wedding I got to shoot a State Farm commercial with Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. Now I’m sure all you football fans will think me a disgrace (I know my husband was ashamed) but I really didn’t know who Aaron Rodgers was before I shot this spot. But now I definitely know…he is only the best player in the NFL right now! And he’s a very cool guy! He was so great on set and the spot was a blast to shoot. It’s good fun having folks seeing me now and reaching out to say how much they love the spot. If you haven’t seen it yet check it out in the video section.

And since I’m working backwards….MY ALBUM!! I recorded my album!! Whhhaaa??!! I’m so excited I can’t stand it! First of all, the experience of recording at Avatar studios in New York- we recorded in the legendary Studio A where such people as Madonna, John Mayer, Herbie Hancock, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, etc. have recorded. It was so special. I felt like a rock star! ;-) AND…who happens to be recording next door and stops by to say hi?....Miss Roberta Flack just happens to waltz over to see who is recording in Studio A. It was so amazing. There I was recording my debut album and Roberta Flack comes in to say hi and wish me luck. It was incredible. Such an amazing experience at Avatar that I will never forget.

We recorded all the music (13 tracks) in 2 days. It was pretty intense, but so thrilling. It’s such a creative high to be working on something like this. It’s so fulfilling and as an artist you feel so satisfied and alive. It was wonderful! The players on the album are all incredible pros that all play on Broadway or with big artists, so they were all flawless of course and added so much to the music.

I then had to wait to record my vocals because I had to run off to San Fran to do a show…but we will talk about that later. So the vocals….I recorded all the vocals at Rob’s Place Studios (my engineers house ;-) )….but he has the exact same microphone as the one we used at Avatar, so it sounds golden! And he’s Jennifer Hudson and Natasha Bedingfield’s engineer…so basically he’s a badass that is making me sound amazing no matter what I do. So lucky! So we recorded all the vocals to all 13 tracks in 6 days. A LOT OF SINGING!! And I always knew I was a perfectionist…but I didn’t realize I was that neurotic. It is really hard to listen to your own voice objectively and just hear it and not judge it. It was a very difficult, exhilarating, exciting, emotional experience for me. I gave it all I had every take and I am so proud of this album. James’s arrangements are out of control good and I think you will be so surprised by what you hear. ;-)

And what will you hear on the album?? Well…I’m not going to release the set list just yet…but VERY SOON!! Because I will be releasing in January…so just a little while more. But I’m really hoping you will find that there is something for everyone on this album. My taste and style of music and singing is all across the board. So much like my solo shows…the tunes span many different styles and genres…all with my own spin which is hopefully making them all work together on this album. I really did take the freedom to do whatever I wanted in regards to song choices and even though the tunes didn’t seem to fit together on paper…I really think that we have made them all work together with the arrangements and my style bringing them all together. It’s all very exciting and I just hope you all enjoy it. That’s what I want more than anything!

Ok…so that’s the album. Like I said…January 2012 release …I’m planning a big CD release party so get ready!! Hope to see you all there! ;-)

Now…what else? Oh yeah…I’m back on Broadway! I’m currently standing by in the new revival of “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” with Harry Connick Jr. The show is great fun and you all need to come see it! Hopefully when I’m on…but everyone is wonderful in the show so come regardless. Harry is terrific and such a nice guy. He has always had my favorite Christmas albums next to Ella Fitzgerald’s so it’s very cool to be working with him! I’ve always been a fan. ;-) Come see the show!

And finally working back…Tales of the City! I was out in San Fran (such an awesome town) for a little over 4 months this year doing the world premiere of this great show! We had such a blast! Tales is this great story based on the books by Armistead Maupin. The music was done by the Scissor Sisters (amazing glam rock band…check them out if you don’t know them! They are fierce) And the book is by Jeff Whitty who wrote Ave Q. Directed by Jason Moore who also directed Ave Q…it’s a great team all around and such a talented cast. It has a lot of potential and I think it will have a life sometime in the future. I had a blast playing crazy Connie Bradshaw. I was a total spaz and it it was fun every night letting my goof out. ;-)

So I guess that’s it for now. Happy Holidays to you all and a very happy new year! 2011 was such an incredible year for me. I’m so blessed and grateful. Thank you as always for your support and please stay tuned for album release info and I hope to see you all there!!! It’s gonna be exciting!

All love! Xo Jules

 
February 13, 2011

It's new blog time!! Finally!! ;-)

So first of all check out the Carner and Gregor new podcast! They are terrific songwriters that I've worked with a lot and I was their special guest on their latest podcast. I even play one of my tunes on guitar. Good times! Check it out here.

Ok...now to life. I am finally home from Philly. I felt like I was away forever, but it was all worth it. I had a wonderful time at The Walnut Street. Great people, great productions and a great city. "Curtains" was a good time and I got to tap dance and be an ingenue (in my own quirky Nikki way) ;-)  So that was a fun change from my usual gigs. "White Christmas" was my favorite though of the two. I loved being Betty and I loved singing Berlin. And my costumes!! It was so fun to dress up every night in such fabulousness. Also, doing that show during the holiday has this special energy to it. You can feel how sentimental everyone is around that time and to come out at the end and see people cuddling closer to their loved ones,  crying or jumping to their feet with joy. It was really special.

And it got extra special on my final performance. I got a VERY big surprise during the final curtain call. We were all told that the 10!Show of Philly, the local new program that I had sung on earlier to promote the show, was going to be shooting our final curtain call. No one really understood why, but people kept saying that Bernard, the producer, wanted to thank the community because it was the best selling holiday show in the Walnut's history. So we all just went along with it.

So final curtain call came and my co-star, Jeff Coon, said "And now for one final guest."  Expecting Bernard to come out, I turned upstage and walking down center comes my man Rob Bennett dressed in a santa suit (to match the other guys.)  I just about fell over.

I immediately started hysterically crying because I knew exactly what he was up to.  The rest is a blur of joy and tears and love. It was just incredible.  The best way to describe it really is to just watch it!   Luckily I have the ENTIRE thing on tape!!  And here's a little taste for you. This is our appearance on the 10!Show the next morning!  Click here to watch.

I still can't believe he pulled it all off! It was quite the amazing ending to a long run in Philly. And now I am happily engaged to the love of my life and planning my wedding for October. Grateful!  ;-))

In other news...MY ALBUM!! We are cookin folks!  Throughout this entire year James Sampliner and I, my musical director, have been getting together whenever we can. We basically had a month here, a couple weeks there. I realized, looking back on my year, that I was away pretty much all year! I played some amazing roles, but I was all over the place. So it was hard to really get a lot of work done on the album, but remarkably we did get a lot done. We have one more tune to do and we are planning on being in the studio THIS MARCH!! Woohooo!!!  So keep your fingers crossed that everything falls into place and everyone is available and we get this puppy down on tape!  Once that's done then we can mix, master and get it printed up for you all! I am hard at work on getting this done and I'm really hoping I can have an album release party by Christmas! Maybe even earlier.

And about the album. It's a little of everything. A lot like my solo shows I've done, it has everything from Jason Robert Brown to Chaka Khan and now some of my original tunes too. It won't be what you expect because it's not the normal musical theatre girl album. But I'm hoping you enjoy it and we are VERY excited and proud of the work we've done.  I have to thank in advance Mr. Jack Sharkey because he is really the one that is making this all possible. So you will be hearing me thanking "Jack" a lot...so just know that's Mr. Sharkey I'm talking about and I'm VERY grateful for his support! Without him this would not be happening!

As for other things coming up...I have a couple things in the hopper. Not announcing anything yet, but I will be up to something very soon. Keep you posted. And also, I really wanted to get a solo show in. Not sure it will happen right away now with all this wedding planning going on,  but it's on the docket. So know I'm working on it and want to get out there ASAP!

As always....thanks to all of you for the support and love you give me! Best fans ever!

Onward...talk again soon! xo Jules

 

 

 
October 21, 2010

Here is a link to an interview I did. It's a fun series of questions and gives some fun insight into show snafoos and the way I see this business. Click here to check out ;-)

 

 
October 13, 2010

Hey everybody. ;-)  I know I usually just talk business on this thing, but I gotta say that I am currently watching the Chilean miners being rescued. They have been working throughout the night saving these 33 men that were trapped for 69 days. I was so happy to wake to see that they are still successfully rescuing them. It's such a moving story to me and throughout their time under ground trapped, I have really used this story to ground me and check me back to reality. Whenever I was upset or stressing over something that felt huge to me, but in the bigger picture was quite simple, all I had to do was remind myself that I wasn't one of the trapped miners and remember what they were going through. I think they are so brave and it has really reminded me not to take things for granted. I just hope that all of us, including myself, don't forget this story too quickly. In this day and age we tend to forget news stories within 24 hours when the next tragedy happens, but I think this story is a powerful tool to stay present in our current lives and remind ourselves how lucky we are and how not to stress the little things.  And we have a lot of little things to stress in this business ;-)

On another note, I'm still in Philly. We are in our last weeks of "Curtains."  I've had such fun playing Niki Harris. Most of you know me as a belter,  but I was classically trained and sang opera all through college.  Niki is far from opera ;-).... but it's just been fun to revisit my legit roots and do an old school Broadway musical.  And I guess it's gone well because I've been asked to stay on to play Betty in "White Christmas."  I was anxious to get home to my boy and NYC, but I've decided to stay.  I do love my holidays and I think it will be a blast to be doing "White Christmas" during the holidays.  I'm excited to sing some classic tunes and get back to my jazz roots too. I used to sing lots of jazz as well. I had my own trio that I gigged around town  singing standards and jazz tunes. So I'm looking forward to that and starting a new project. Hope some of you can make it down for that.

I am still working on the album for those of you that have been asking. It's been tough to keep a tight schedule on it when me and my musical director keep doing other projects that put us in the different towns, but that's gonna change come January. We are scheduling some sessions to get this thing DONE!  So the work is on and I'm so excited to get back to rockin on that.  In the meantime I want to get a cabaret going here in Philly so that I can do some of my music and scream my face off a little. All this legit stuff has got me wanting to belt a little. ;-)  So if we get that going I will be sure to post it up so hopefully some of you can come down for that.

All for now. And when something simple upsets you or you're feeling bad, just think of the Chilean miner's story and take a look at the sky and take a deep breath.  Life is all good. Be grateful. ;-)

 
July 17, 2010

The first blog for the new site!! Yippeee!  I am over the moon with this new site guys! First of all, thank you to my wonderful and talented boyfriend Rob Bennett for the photos. I really think they make the site! And secondly, thanks to the guys at Route Design. Seriously everybody...if you need a website, these are the guys for you. They are so wonderful to work with.  Professional, but very chill and cool guys as well. So holla if you need a site done! And the best part is...I now update it MYSELF! So that means more current blogs and more up to date stuff. Woohoo! ;-)

So....as most of you know I was just in the Berkshires for the last month doing a dream show of mine, "The Last Five Years."  

I gotta say...there probably isn't another thing I'd rather do every night at work then sing Jason Robert Brown tunes.  His music has always grabbed me and I know it's partly because it feels like it's written for my voice with the range and style...but even more so, the story telling. I just think his songs are a dream for any singer/actor. All you need is right there in the song and it such a joy and pleasure to just be in the scene every night.  The team we had was great and I felt like we really analyzed the piece in an interesting and new way...staging it with us on stage the whole time, adding to the dynamic of the relationship and also allowing us to have different journeys being there to hear the other persons song while you were moving through our stuff to get to your next one. It really was a special experience and I can only hope I get to do that show again...and more of JRB's work in the future. One of my favorite shows I've done for sure.

Now I'm back and getting back in the swing of things. It feels good to have some down time. Not sure how long it will be, but I want to take advantage and play some guitar and work on the album. The album is coming along much slower than planned guys...which sucks. I'm bummed about it, but it really is tough to schedule time to do it when you and your MD are working all the time. So I'm trying to figure out how to remedy that now and hoping to get in the studio by the late fall. No Xmas release sad to say :-(  ...but this thing IS happening...so thanks for all the support and your patience. I just want to do it right rather than fast...so I will take as long as I need to make it how I want it to be!

Hoping to put a solo show together soon if a gig doesn't come up right away. I want to play more of my own tunes and start getting out there with that. I'm a bit scared...playing guitar in public is one scary thing, but playing my own tune AND the guitar in public...whole nother thing! SCARY!  But I'm working on it and that is a goal of mine, to conquer that fear. So thanks for the support with that as well and more to come on that front.

Thanks to all who made it out to the Berkshires. I felt a lot of fan love out there with your visits and messages...so THANKS!!  Stay tuned for more frequent blogs, upcoming goodness and check out the new site if you haven't already. Really proud of it! Back soon.... ;-)

 

 
April 25, 2010

Hello all! Some great news about the blog first off. I am going to be able to update it very soon on my own! Woohoo! I am updating my website very soon, so it will have a new look, new features and…more frequent blogging. So that's good news! Hmmm…what's been going on? Well, lets work backwards.

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January 27, 2010

Hello first blog of 2010! Hey guys! Ok....so wow! What have I been up to since my last June blog? (I promise to write sooner next time! )

Well…as most of you know I got back from my wonderful experience at “Caroline or Change” in MN with bells on! I just had such a lovely time there! A memorable experience that will always be with me. After that I did “Vanities” at Second Stage. That was very short lived, but still was a good time with some great friends. My dear friend Katie Adams was there with me which made it all worth while!

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June 3, 2009

Hello guys!! So…I have been hanging in Minnesota! It's been freezing, it's been sunny, it's been windy, it's been rainy. They do like their weather here in Minneapolis. Overall, it is a great town with such a diverse culture and a very rich arts community. They really have it going on here. No wonder The Guthrie is such a renowned place to work. The theatre is simply incredible. They treat us like gold and the talent is amazing.

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