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Selected Shorts
Saturdays at 6pm

On Selected Shorts, 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.

Over 35 years ago, Selected Shorts was born on the stage at Symphony Space and quickly became one of the best known shows of its kind spawning a popular public radio show, podcast, audio collections, and national tours. The series was conceived with a simple premise: take great stories by well-known and emerging writers and have them brought to life by terrific actors of stage and screen. Whether featuring stories around a lively theme, the favorite works of a guest author, or a special collaboration, each Selected Shorts event is a unique night of literature in performance.

The radio show is recorded live from performances at the Peter Sharp Theater at Symphony Space in New York, as well as around the US on tours. From the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Selected Shorts is one of the premiere reading series in New York City, attracting some of the biggest names in entertainment.

There is a theme to each Selected Shorts episode and performance. Several stories are presented around each theme. The stories are almost always fiction, sometimes classic, sometimes new, always performed by great actors from stage, screen and television. Evenings are often co-hosted by writers, literary producers, and other interesting characters.

Recent readers include Ellen Burstyn, Kathleen Turner, Edie Falco, Claire Danes, Michael Shannon, Tony Shalhoub, Michael C. Hall, Paul Giamatti, Jane Curtin, Zachary Quinto, Anika Noni Rose, Bebe Neuwirth, Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter, Tony Hale, Josh Radnor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, BD Wong, and many more.

Look below for a list of recent Selected Shorts episodes. For more information about the show, click here.

  • Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works of speculative fiction curated by best-selling author N.K. Jemisin. In John Scalzi’s “When the Yogurt Took Over” a popular breakfast staple decides it’s good for everyone. The reader is Jin Ha. Chatbots and A.I. can be helpful––but sometimes too helpful––as we hear in Alexandra Chang’s “Me and My Algo,” read by Catherine Cohen. And Jemisin herself reworks a classic by Ursula K. Le Guin in “The Ones Who Stay and Fight,” read by Teagle F. Bougere. Excerpts from Jemisin’s onstage remarks are included in this show.
  • Host Meg Wolitzer presents two works about growth helped along by some sort of fantastical assistance. The characters in these pieces are stuck—and consciously or not, they're looking for something to give them just a little push. And that nudge comes in the form of magic. In “Isabella’s Garden,” by Naomi Kritzer, a backyard nature site presents a young family with a new world of fertility. The reader is Jane Kaczmarek. In “My Dear You,” by Rachel Khong, performed by Annie Q, the afterlife provides a perfect platform for questions about love, commitment, and the meaning of forever. After the reading, Wolitzer talks to Khong about the story and her writing process.
  • Writer Deirdre Coyle’s fiction and essays have appeared in Electric Literature, Lit Hub, The New Republic, The Texas Observer, Hobart Pulp, and elsewhere. This story, "Stakes," was performed at a show at the Getty Center in L.A., at a show produced in conjunction with the online literary collective, Belletrist Book Club. If you don't know Belletrist, it was founded by committed friends and readers Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss. They recommend new works by an incredible collection of writers, host online conversations and foster a community of like-minded readers. Emma Roberts reads this story, and we feature an interview between host Aparna Nancherla and Karah Preiss in this episode.
  • Host Meg Wolitzer presents two imaginative stories about different ways of thinking about coming together and what we celebrate when we do. In “On the Sudden Increase in Changeling Stock: A Report,” Daniel Lavery applies a statistical model where you would not expect to find one, with zany results.It’s read by Jin Ha. In our second work, master storyteller Ray Bradbury wildly reimagines the idea of “Homecoming,” in a story that first captivated reader Neil Gaiman when he was seven years old.
  • Host Meg Wolitzer presents three lively stories about the allure—or not—of summer. Italian writer Massimo Bontempeli creates a magical beach inside an apartment in “The Miraculous Beach, or Prize for Modesty.” The work was translated by Jenny McPhee and is read by Hugh Dancy. Humorist Samantha Irby doesn’t get summer, and presents a contrarian’s view in “The Case for Remaining Indoors,” read by Retta. And Denis O’Hare reads a baseball classic—W.P. Kinsella’s “The Thrill of the Grass.”
  • Host Meg Wolitzer presents three stories about fathers and fatherhood. In “Beauty and the Beast” by Simon Rich, a self-absorbed producer gets a little Disney sparkle from his daughter. The reader is Arian Moayed. “Bedtime Story” by Victor LaValle, read by Dion Graham, features a son soothing an anxious father; and a father-daughter hiking trip involves both bonding and danger in Percival Everett’s “Exposure,” read by Denis O’Hare. The show features on-stage remarks by O'Hare about fatherhood and includes comments by Percival Everett and Dion Graham.