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Canadian Director of Steel Magnolias Inspired by San Miguel

Cast of Steel Magnolias with director Michael Dobbin

By Judy Newell, photo by Lou Barranti

D. Michael Dobbin, artistic/producing director for three major Canadian theaters and an opera company during his 45-year career, has directed more than 100 plays and coached many theater artists during the span of his continuing career. His creative work as an actor and director has been seen in many cities in Canada, the US, and Asia.

Steel Magnolias
Thu, Apr 16, 7:30pm
200 pesos
Thu, Apr 16 – Sun, Apr 26
Thu, Fri, Sat, 7:30pm
Sat, matinee, 3pm
Sun, matinee, 5pm
150 pesos
All shows have reserved seating
The San Miguel Playhouse
Av. Independencia 82

He’s now discovered the magic of San Miguel de Allende and is currently directing Steel Magnolias, which premieres at the San Miguel Playhouse on Thursday, April 16.

“The first year I spent two weeks here; the second, I came for two months. This is my third visit and I’m here for three months. Everyone knows what that means: I’m looking for an affordable apartment that I can rent year-round. The mystical, magical power of this town has captivated me and this year I have tried hard to make friends, not just in the ex-pat community, but also with the Mexicans who are the heart of the real San Miguel. I came from Vancouver where meeting people and making friends in any meaningful way is never easy and usually is associated with one’s work. Here, making friends is like breathing and the connectivity of San Miguel is at the center of that magic that I feel,” said Dobbin.

Written by Robert Harding, the play Steel Magnolias was first produced onstage in 1987. In 1989 it was turned into one of the most memorable movies of the decade. It is about a group of six small town Southern women who are both as delicate as a flower and as tough as steel. “This is a very funny play,” said the director. “It is a touching and moving and hilarious look at these women whose lives and experiences are both unique to their situations and, at the same time, universal. All of us can find something to love, admire, and share with each of these women. The characters will, I am sure, bring audience members to gales of laughter and moments of great emotional depth. I was really impressed by the female talent pool when I held the auditions for Steel Magnolias in early February,” he commented. “It was a treat to see and talk with so many eager and skilled women who were auditioning for one of the six roles in the show. Every artist works in her own personal way and my job, as the director, is to bring us all to a common vocabulary and help the cast make the discoveries that bring honest renditions of these six very special women in the story we have to tell.”

The cast consists of Kate Rowland as Truvy, the hairdresser; Anne Campbell as Annelle, her assistant; Erica Piedfort as Shelby, the bride; Judy Newell as M’Lynn, Shelby’s mother; Maggie Bunce as Clairee, the former mayor’s wife; and Gerri Baruch as Ouiser, the town curmudgeon.

On opening night, Thursday, April 16, there is a champagne reception after the show and tickets are 200 pesos. The show runs April 16 through April 26. All other performances are 150 pesos and all shows have reserved seating. The San Miguel Playhouse is located in Col. Independencia at Av. Independencia 82. There is free secure parking and taxi concierge service.

“My San Miguel experiences have always been rich and full and fun and educational,” concluded the director. “I am delighted that this year, the magic of SMA also includes, for me, an opportunity to practice my life-long craft and to contribute to the success of this great new adventure called the San Miguel Theater Company.”

Tickets are now on sale for Steel Magnolias. They can be purchased at Galería Izamal, 80 Mesones (next door to the Teatro Ángela Peralta), where you can select your specific seat location.  Show times are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30pm, a Saturday matinee at 3pm, and a Sunday matinee at 5pm. Doors open one hour before show time. Come early and enjoy a glass of wine before the show. You also may make will-call reservations for the best seats available at time of pick up by emailing sanmigueltheatercompany@gmail or calling the theater at 415 154-1018. Reservations made by phone or email must be picked up and paid for 30 minutes before the start of the performance or the tickets will be released.


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