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Oklahoma natives make waves on NewYork stage

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Oklahoma " the state, not the musical with the exclamation point " has been making waves on the New York theater stage. Our own Matthew Alvin Brown's rock musical "Rainbow Around the Sun" played six shows over two weeks' time as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival this month, directed by Nick Demos, formerly of Lyric Theatre.

Dubbed as "the fantastical odyssey of a man finding himself by losing himself," Brown's play began as an album with his former Okie band, The Fellowship Students, before being adapted into a feature film shot in these here parts. Now, it has jumped to the stage in the hopes of a regular run, and previewed here one night only before making its way east.

So far, the response is more than kind. Writing for the Web site Examiner, New York correspondent and Oklahoma City University graduate Stephanie Joiner called it "thrilling."

"Perhaps the most disappointing part of the experience was to see the number of empty seats in the intimate theater. While so many NYMF shows are selling out and extending, I was appalled that a show of this impact wasn't full. Where are the people?" she wrote. "Whether you are a die-hard Beatles fan or a theater snob, go see 'Rainbow Around the Sun.'"

She also singled out the show's band for accolades, one-fifth of which is former Oklahoman/now New Yorker guitarist Richard York, whom Gazette readers may recall was one of the driving forces behind the local group American Boyfriends, a Woody Award winner and one-album wonder.

The show is directed by Nick Demos, who served as Lyric Theatre's artistic director

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