Selected Shorts

Series produced by Selected Shorts

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One-hour weekly program featuring readings of short fiction by classic and emerging writers read by top Broadway and Hollywood actors (ongoing).

NOTE: This program is available to PRI affiliates. For more information please email memberships@prx.org.

“One of the finest evenings at the theatre.”

– David Sedaris about Selected Shorts

"Selected Shorts: Let Us Tell You A Story" presents some best-loved selections of classic and contemporary short fiction read by acclaimed actors and recorded live at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City. Stories are alternately funny, sad, moving, and exciting and make a perfect accompaniment to daily activities such as driving, cooking, exercising, and relaxing. Some of the finest artists of the American theater and screen come through the doors of Symphony Space in a typical season. It is from these recordings that the radio show is produced. For almost three decades, performances have featured works by contemporary greats such as Alice Munro, John Updike, John Edgar Wideman, Joan Didion, TC Boyle and Alice Walker; as well as the fresh, vivid and diverse works of a new generation of remarkable literary talents, from Pulitzer Prize-winning Jhumpa Lahiri, best seller Neil Gaiman and Ian Frazier to promising newcomers like Etgar Keret and humorist Simon Rich. Distinguished works by classic masters such as Edith Wharton, James Thurber, Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allan Poe have been thrilling audiences for years.

More than 80 stories are read to captivated audiences during a single"Selected Shorts" live performance season. Favorite "Selected Shorts" actors who have read in recent seasons are Hope Davis, Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon, Liev Schreiber, Sally Field, Willem Dafoe, Robert Sean Leonard, David Strathairn and Stephen Colbert.

"Selected Shorts" tours its live programs each year to destinations across the country. Venues have included the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; the Fitzgerald Theater in Minneapolis; Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago; Town Hall in Seattle; The Mount in Lenox, Mass.; The Dallas Museum of Art; and the Westport Arts Center in Connecticut.

There are currently a dozen "Selected Shorts" thematic CDs, which feature listeners' best-loved stories, including "Baseball!," "Timeless Classics," "Food Fictions," "Travel Tales," "Falling in Love," "Edith Wharton," and most recently, "Even More Laughs," "POE!" and "Behaving Badly." Additionally there are several digital only collections available exclusively at Selectedshorts.org. Hide full description

“One of the finest evenings at the theatre.”– David Sedaris about Selected Shorts"Selected Shorts: Let Us Tell You A Story" presents some best-loved selections of classic and contemporary short fiction read by acclaimed actors and recorded live at Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York City. Stories are alternately funny, sad, moving, and exciting and make a perfect accompaniment to daily activities such as driving, cooking, exercising, and relaxing. Some of the finest artists of the American theater and screen come through the doors of Symphony Space in a typical season. It is from these recordings that the radio show is produced. For almost three decades, performances have featured works by contemporary greats such as Alice Munro, John Updike, John Edgar Wideman, Joan Didion, TC... Show full description


Additional Files

68 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Guest host Tayari Jones helps us to celebrate this American master, who died in 2019. Her novels, including Beloved, Jazz and Song of Solomon, hav...

  • Added: Jun 30, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Guest host Denis O’Hare helps us mark the landmark event that helped give birth to the modern movement for LGBTQIA+ rights in America. We first he...

  • Added: Jun 23, 2020
  • Length: 58:58
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Guest host Hope Davis presents two stories in which things get out of hand. Rumors and recriminations fly in “Belles Lettres,” by Nafissa Thompson...

  • Added: Jun 18, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Guest host Dennis O’Hare presents two unorthodox love stories. British writer Jane Gardam twists Hans Christian Andersen’s tale in a saucy reboot o...

  • Added: Jun 09, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Guest host Andy Borowitz intros four hilarious pieces featured in his anthology The 50 Funniest American Writers. James Naughton reads S.J. Perelm...

  • Added: May 28, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three stories with surprising twists and turns. A wife finds something unexpected in her local thrift shop in “...

  • Added: May 25, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents stories, essays, and poems, and speeches celebrating America’s diversity and wealth of stories. An aging fathe...

  • Added: May 19, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents two contemporary twists on classic fairy tale themes: "The Princess Who Stood on Her Own Two Feet," by Jeanne De...

  • Added: May 09, 2020
  • Length: 58:58
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Guest host Michael Cerveris presents two stories about the difference between who people are and how they are perceived by strangers. Cerveris per...

  • Added: Apr 28, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Guest host Andy Borowitz shares some hilarious favorites: “Tough as Bob War and Other Stuff,” by Molly Ivins, performed by Judith Ivey; “The Pony...

  • Added: Apr 27, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents two stories of food and conflict: "Breadman," by J. Robert Lennon, performed by Kyle MacLachlan; An exce...

  • Added: Apr 21, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three stories where people change dramatically: "Wedding Announcement," by Colin Nissan, performed by John Came...

  • Added: Apr 09, 2020
  • Length: 59:01
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Guest host Jane Curtin presents three tales in which drinking plays a part. “What We Talk About When We Talk About Doughnuts,” by Michael Gerber an...

Bought by High Plains Public Radio, KWGS, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and KUNM


  • Added: Apr 04, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
  • Purchases: 4
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Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents some quirky tales: “Bee Beard,” by Ryan Boudinot, performed by Tony Hale; “The Dummy,” by Susan Sontag, perfor...

  • Added: Apr 01, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Guest host Michael Cerveris presents O. Henry Award-winning stories: “Midrash on Happiness,” by Grace Paley, performed by Mia Dillon; “The America...

  • Added: Mar 26, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Guest host Jane Curtin presents two stories about powerful men: "The Greatest Man in the World,” by James Thurber, performed by Michael Ian Black;...

  • Added: Mar 19, 2020
  • Length: 59:00
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Guest host LeVar Burton presents three stories about seeing, remembering and accepting: “The Elevator Dancer,” by N. K. Jemisin, performed by Laura...

  • Added: Mar 11, 2020
  • Length: 58:59
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Guest host Denis O'Hare presents three stories that push past boundaries: “Distractions,” by Simon Rich, performed by Erinn Hayes; “Love in a Kitch...

  • Added: Mar 10, 2020
  • Length: 58:57
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Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents tales of crisis by Etgar Keret and Joyce Carol Oates: “Fly Already,” by Etgar Keret, performed by Liev Schreiber;...

  • Added: Feb 26, 2020
  • Length: 58:59