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The music of Oz is no longer behind the curtain at Segerstom

The music of Oz is no longer behind the curtain at Segerstom
In this 1939 file photo originally released by Warner Bros., Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Judy Garland as Dorothy, and Jack Haley as the Tin Woodman, are shown in a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” (AP Photo / Warner Bros.)

No matter the version, L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” finds new fans with each generation.

In “The Wonderful Music of Oz,” which takes place Nov. 9 to 10 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Pacific Symphony will play selections created by three of those generations: the 1939 classic film musical “The Wizard of Oz,” the 1974 stage musical “The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical ‘Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ ”; and the 2003 musical “Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz.”

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The show will feature guest vocalists Kelli Rabke, Scott Coulter and Law Dunford, as well as pianist John Boswell.

Just what makes this story still so appealing and compelling after nearly 120 years?

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“As many incarnations as that story has had, it is, at its very heart, about wanting the basic, simple things of life — [it’s] about human values and relationships, and wanting to be home, to be with family,” Rabke said. “Dorothy is on a search, she and her three friends all are, but they’ve had what they’re looking for all along.”

Kelli Rabke is one of the vocalists performing at the “The Wonderful Music of Oz” at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Nov. 9 to 10.
Kelli Rabke is one of the vocalists performing at the “The Wonderful Music of Oz” at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Nov. 9 to 10. (Photo courtesy of the Pacific Symphony)

Rabke got her big break playing Dorothy. Her career has taken her from the Paper Mill Playhouse production of “Oz” in New Jersey, to Broadway (“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Les Miserables”) to television (“The Young and the Restless”).

Rabke’s connection to Dorothy is so strong that she named her first cabaret show, “There’s No Place Like Home,” which she is currently performing in New York.

“The Wonderful Music of Oz" also includes songs like “Yellow Brick Road” from Elton John’s 1973 album and “Rainbow Connection” from 2005’s “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz.”

“There's something in this show for everyone, whatever your musical tastes,” Rabke said. “There’s that ’30s, ’40s Hollywood sound of the original Harold Arlen-Yip Harburg classic film; the funky, Motown sound of ‘The Wiz;’ the modern, pop-influenced Broadway sound of Schwartz’ ‘Wicked.’ ... I’m just so happy to be singing, especially when the music is Oz.”

IF YOU GO

What: Pacific Symphony Pops Series, Richard Kaufman, conductor, presents “The Wonderful Music of Oz”

Who: Kelli Rabke, Scott Coulter and Law Dunford, vocal soloists; John Boswell, pianist

When: 8 p.m., Nov. 9 to 10

Where: Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Cost: Tickets start at $45

Information: (714) 755-5799, pacificsymphony.org

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