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Michael Rush, a director, playwright and actor, dies at 91

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He was a tall, smooth-talking gentleman with a bent for the stage and who dazzled theatergoers in shows such as “Once Upon a Mattress” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” He was also an actor who, like his acting colleagues, enjoyed alcohol.

Mr. Rush, who died on March 14, died in New York City, the actress and director Michael Barker announced. He was 91.

On Broadway, he directed or staged many of the 1950s’ best-loved shows: “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Once Upon a Mattress,” “The Music Man,” “The White Shadow,” “Camelot,” “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,” “St. Nicholas” and “Old Men,” starring Scott Lowell. He made his first show, a revival of “Richard III,” his Broadway debut.

Though Mr. Rush worked his way up to directing a range of pictures, such as “Love Life” and “Mermaids in Paradise,” his briefness in Hollywood doomed him there. The movie-based musical, “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks,” starring Randy Quaid, didn’t make its scheduled release in 1952.

Perhaps the latest of Mr. Rush’s films to see reissues — but not necessarily its premiere, since its release was 1957 — is the 1947 musical “The Sound of Music.”

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