Music Kills a Memory | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Music Kills a Memory 

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Music Kills a Memory has opened and closed four times since January--the last time in New York, last month--which must go to show that you can't keep a good act down. Jeff Citation winner Paula Killen plays Jane, a dweebish woman caught up in a series of abusive relationships. At a sex addicts' support group, she meets Stella, a sleek lounge chanteuse, and Connie, a hot-mama blues belter--both of whom have managed to sublimate their self-destructive urges into music. Jane decides that music must be the way to salvation, and before you can say "over the rainbow" the coast-to-coast Easy Does It tour is under way, featuring the three broken blossoms and their bantamweight accompanist Monte Carlyle (who's "stronger than he looks"). Most of the singing is done by Shane Taylor as Stella and Karol Kent as Connie, both real-life veterans of the cabaret circuit, ably assisted by the enigmatic Chuck Larkin on piano. Killen provides the narrative, playing Jane as a combination of Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler, with a healthy dollop of Rusty Warren. She also sings--with an ingenuous amateurishness that can only have been achieved by extensive training. Music Kills a Memory satirizes sappy love songs, psychotherapy, AA, and the "love hurts" attitude that permeates our society while delivering song after innovative song (who would ever have thought that Karen's "Superstar" and Janis's "Piece of My Heart" could be blended into a perfectly harmonizing duet?). The mark of good parody is that it can be enjoyed for itself as well as for its mockery, and Music Kills a Memory is an evening both uproariously funny and overwhelmingly romantic. Club Lower links, through August 3 (954 W. Newport, 248-5238). Saturdays, midnight; Saturday, July 27, 8:30 PM only. $5.

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