Selected Shorts

By Symphony Space

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Category: Performing Arts

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 Apr 5, 2019

Christine W
 Sep 4, 2018


Our greatest actors transport us through the magic of fiction, one short story at a time. Sometimes funny. Always moving. Selected Shorts connects you to the world with a rich diversity of voices from literature, film, theater, and comedy. New episodes every Thursday. Produced and distributed by Symphony Space.

Episode Date
Under the Surface
On this SELECTED SHORTS, hosted by Jane Kaczmarek, we explore hidden emotions. In Patrick Dacey’s “Patriots” suburban lawn ornaments threaten a friendship. The reader is Wendie Malick. In Seth Fried’s “Sea Monster,” a wife has a secret that may affect her marriage. The reader is Natasha Rothwell. Host Jane Kaczmarek reads our final story. In “Mistress” by Gina Berriault, a woman meets her former lover’s son.     Join and give!: See for privacy information.
Jun 10, 2021
Too Hot For Radio: Jess Walter "Helpless Little Things"
From the best-selling author Beautiful Ruins, an edgy, suspenseful story about a drug-dealing Portland con artist voiced by actor Denis O'Hare who seems to have the perfect scam going... until it all goes wrong. Jess Walter talks to host Aparna Nancherla about where he gets his inspiration from, reading his reviews, and how he handles the dreaded writer's block. Join and give!: See for privacy information.
Jun 09, 2021
Guest host Kate Burton  presents four works with a hint of strangeness.  Your laptop wants the best for you, with a little reciprocity, in “Cat Pictures Please,” by Naomi Kritzer, performed by Nia Vardalos.  “There Will Come Soft Rains” is an eerie post-apocalypse classic by Ray Bradbury, performed by Kathleen Chalfant.  A despondent housewife gets a lift from a seductive window treatment in Michel Faber’s “The Eyes of the Soul,” performed by Sam Underwood.    Join and give!: See for privacy information.
Jun 03, 2021
Curious Courtships
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents three stories about curious courtships. First, does the perfect date night include zombies? Tony Hale reads “First Person Shooter,” by Charles Yu. A president’s wife is the ideal luggage item, until she develops a mind of her own in a vintage tale by Whitfield Cook. “The Portable Mrs. Tillson,” is performed by Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper. The show concludes with another period gem--“Gertrude the Governess: or, Simple Seventeen,” by Stephen Leacock, performed by Sonia Manzano. This pastiche of Victorian melodrama has everything. Join and give!: See for privacy information.
May 27, 2021
Fame & Infamy
Guest host Dylan Marron presents three stories about the fickle nature of fame.   A classic action hero may be past his time in “The South Asian Speakers Series Presents the Archeologist and Adventurer Indiana Jones,” by Tania James, performed by Bryan Cranston.  Everyday racism transforms a young woman into a death-defying activist in “Today, You’re a Black Revolutionary,” by Jade Jones, performed by Moses Ingram.   And pop stars, their fads, and their handlers are fair game in “On a Day Tammy Had Not Eaten Enough Yellow,” by Kenneth Calhoun, performed by Michelle Buteau, John Cameron Mitchell, and Miriam Shor. Join and give!: See for privacy information.
May 20, 2021
Forgiving and Forgetting
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents stories about transgression, misunderstandings, and betrayal. “Initials Etched on a Dining Room Table Lockeport Nova Scotia” call up a host of memories in this story by Peter Orner, performed by Maulik Pancholy. A chef down on his luck gets a new start in “Ollie’s Back,” by Lynn Sloan, performed by Nate Corddry. And parents disagree about the raising of a lively daughter, in “Light,” by Lesley Nneka Arimah, performed by Crystal Dickinson. Join and give!: See for privacy information.
May 13, 2021
Revise the Rules
Guest host Roxane Gay presents three stories in which personal codes and rules of behavior are tested. In “Miss Laura’s School for Esquire Men,” by Carmen Maria Machado, hopelessly macho men are learning to be kinder and gentler.  The reader is Emily Skeggs.  A schoolroom friendship comes at a high price in “Rubberdust” by Sarah Thankam Mathews, performed by Purva Bedi.  The story was included in Best American Short Stories 2020 by guest editor Curtis Sittenfeld.  A highly principled dogwalker contemplates a big change in Lydia Millet’s “Sir Henry,” performed by John Lithgow. Join and give!: See for privacy information.
May 06, 2021
Mending Families
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents two stories about families. In Heather Monley’s “Paddle to Canada,” a risky family boating trip becomes contested history. Jenna Ushkowitz is the reader.  And Jamel Brinkley’s “A Family” shows people coming together in unexpected ways after a loss. Brandon J. Dirden performs this Best American Short Stories 2019 selection.   Join and give!: See for privacy information.
Apr 29, 2021
Reading the Russians with George Saunders
Guest host Kate Burton presents three Russian classics that reflect on the humor, humanism, and poetry of this great literary tradition, from an evening curated by Saunders.  In addition to his award-winning short-story anthologies and novel, Saunders teaches at Syracuse University.  In “After the Theatre,” by Anton Chekhov, a young girl writes imaginary love letters.  The reader is Donna Lynne Champlin.  “The Porcelain Doll” by Leo Tolstoy is based on a letter he wrote to his young sister-in-law—about his own wife!  BD Wong is the reader.  Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Bobok” may remind some of Saunders’ own Lincoln in the Bardo.  A dotty civil servant overhears the conversations of the dead, who are voiced by Becca Blackwell, Peter Jay Fernandez, Santino Fontana, Zach Grenier, Ann Harada, and Peter Mark Kendall.  And a special treat follows “Bobok.”  Anna Dzhanaeva and Luba Lapina, members of the Moscow English Literature Club, read excerpts from “After the Theatre” and “The Porcelain Doll” in Russian. Join and give!: See for privacy information.
Apr 22, 2021
Too Hot For Radio: Tiphanie Yanique "The Special World"
A gorgeous story read by actor Hampton Fluker (The Blind Side, Patriots Day, and Shades of Blue) about race, leaving home, and the dramas of young life. After the reading, host Aparna Nancherla talks with the delightful author Tiphanie Yanique about, well, just about everything. Join and give!: See for privacy information.
Apr 19, 2021
Too Hot For Radio: Kirsty Gunn "Dangerous Dog"
Read by actress Kirsten Vangsness, this Jane Eyre fan fiction imagines Mr. Rochester as a pit bull. After the story, host Aparna Nancherla talks to Jane Eyre expert, author Patricia Park, about the enduring allure of Charlotte Brontë's novel. Join and give!: See for privacy information.
Mar 08, 2021
Only Human: Anton Chekhov
Guest host Jane Curtin presents works by Anton Chekhov that were part of a celebration sponsored by Columbia University and hosted by Chekhov scholar Laura Strausfeld.  We’ll hear “A Drama,” performed by Cynthia Nixon—an ambitious writer overwhelms her idol; “Rapture,” performed by Robin Miles, Sam Underwood, Rainn Wilson, and Di Zhu—a young man enjoys his 15 minutes of fame; “Which is Better?,” performed by Rainn Wilson—Chekhov debates the merits of schools vs. pubs; and “Verotchka,” performed by Rainn Wilson—a studious young man confronts romance.  Join and give!: See for privacy information.
Nov 05, 2020