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A story from Hamburg's biggest 'Wicked' fan

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In my story on Sunday about the particularly virulent strain of musical theater fandom that "Wicked" has been spreading since its 2003 debut, I caught up with several Western New Yorkers who were planning to see the show once again during its Buffalo run.

After the story ran, I got an email from Catherine Lee, a Hamburg resident who was so taken by the musical that she named her green Volkswagen Beetle after the "Wicked" character Elphaba and outfitted it with vanity plates spelling out "LFABA." Here's her story:

After initially reading the novel years ago, I thought there were hours of my life that I would never get back! My first impression when I heard it was to become a musical was this I have to see and I was amazed and gladdened at the result. I enjoyed the character's spirit and resilience. Elphaba kept trying to do the "right thing" but each time people thought her evil. Elphie doesn't give up and finds a way to become happy with herself and find love in the process. Winner!
 
Enter my glorious Volkswagen Beetle! Cyber, aka Wicked Witch, green convertible with a black top, and her name had to become LFABA. I had to have a phonetic  plate as all other combinations were already taken. I see many confused faces as people try to decipher the meaning and have had more than one person tell me that they love Abba too. (LF ABA?) Only once, as the crowd was leaving a performance, did a young teenage girl exclaim to her parents "Look! It's Elphaba!" I gave her a hug for getting it.
 
As a teacher, I even told students that Elphaba didn't give up so neither should they and that it will all work out in the end.
 
So yes, there are those that go to see Wicked and those of us who live it.

Here's another picture Lee sent in of her posing with her beloved LFABA:

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The musical opens its three-week run in Shea's Performing Arts Center on Thursday night after tonight's preview performance.

--Colin Dabkowski

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