Since I've Been Gone | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Since I've Been Gone 

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"Smoking is one of my bad habits," Paula Killen says near the beginning of her new show. "So is missing Chicago." A fixture on the early- to mid-90s performance scene, Killen decamped for Los Angeles several years ago. Since then, having struggled with single motherhood and encroaching middle age, she's discovered a truth many before her have unearthed: "All Hollywood has the charm of a hangover." Anecdotes about her experiences are counterbalanced by the equally tormented--and equally hilarious--tales told by her longtime "wing woman," Chicago actress-singer Karol Kent. The two have charm to burn, presence to spare, and a wry way of turning the saddest, most sordid stories into rich, touching snapshots. When Kent belts out "Tracks of My Tears" or Killen provides a tongue-in-cheek list of her special talents ("I can pick up and carry a deadbeat for years"), it feels like home--a chaotic, smoke-filled, but loving home. Russ Flack and "Melody Nife" (Dave Asher) provide adept musical backing. Through 8/13: Fri-Sat 10 PM. Prop Thtr, 3502-4 N. Elston, 773-539-7838. $10.

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