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Shut Up and Dance! 

Thursday, May 16 2013
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Stella Valente Wilkins' brashly titled production about the redemptive power of dance sounds both too specific and too vaguely feel-goodish to make an effective premise. But since its debut workshop at last year's Hollywood Fringe festival, the solo show has tightened into a charming narrative fueled by Wilkins' self-deprecating charisma and sinuous, high-heeled grooving. An early dose of ADD and an Italian Catholic upbringing in Queens lead Wilkins to pursue a dance career alongside a string of fixer-upper boyfriends. After a stint teaching foxtrot and waltz at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, she eventually makes her way to Miami, Los Angeles and Buenos Aires, where big breaks await her — along with a trip to the slammer, a sojourn in a convent and a host of other mishaps. The time mostly flies during these detours en route to wisdom, with only occasional bumpiness posed by abrupt musical spurts and too-frequent character changes. Wilkins unites the disparate threads by likening her experiences to ballroom techniques (and faithfully observed dictates from The Rules). We can't all be dancers, but watching Wilkins glide across the stage in a wicked pair of stilettos feels pretty close. Working Stage Theater, 1516 N. Gardner St., Hlywd.; Thurs., 8 p.m.; through May 30. (323) 521-8600, workingstage.com.
Thursdays, 8 p.m. Starts: April 25. Continues through May 30, 2013
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