23 episodes

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, from Symphony Space.

Selected Shorts Symphony Space

    • Arts
    • 4.4 • 2.6K Ratings

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, from Symphony Space.

    Romance of the Summer

    Romance of the Summer

    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.”

    • 1 hr
    In Dad We Trust -- Maybe

    In Dad We Trust -- Maybe

    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.

    • 56 min
    Picture Perfect

    Picture Perfect

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works about idealized lives, and ideas about what constitutes an “ideal” life. “Boy Meets Girl” is Jen Kim’s humorous version of a Hollywood love story. It’s read by Tony Hale. In the John Cheever classic “The Worm in the Apple” a couple have the perfect life—but no one can believe it. It’s read by Anne Meara. And a harried mother fantasizes about a brand new life in Vanessa Cuti’s “Our Children,” performed by Claire Danes, followed by an interview with Danes.
    .

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Taking Flight with Amy Tan

    Taking Flight with Amy Tan

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works featuring birds, curated by writer and bird aficionado Amy Tan. Ben Loory’s “The Frog and the Bird,” is a twist the traditional fable genre; it’s performed by Mike Doyle. Teenagers are transformed in “Town of Birds,” by Heather Monley, performed by Yetide Badaki; and an avian love song goes viral in Mikkel Rosengaard’s “The Mating Call,” performed by BD Wong. Tan comments on the program’s theme and the stories and the actors provide backstage commentary.

    • 1 hr
    Lost and Found

    Lost and Found

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents two works about losing something, but finding something revealing to take its place. In “Light,” by Lesley Nkeka Arimah, parents differ about how to raise a strong-willed daughter. The reader is Crystal Dickinson. And in Taryn Bowe’s “Camp Emeline,” performed by Edie Falco, a family struggles after a loss, but grief leads to self-discovery for the determined narrator. This lovely work also introduces Selected Shorts' first-ever on-air book club. Wolitzer joins a lively mother/daughter group to talk about Bowe’s work and how they related to it.

    • 59 min
    Great Escapes

    Great Escapes

    Host Meg Wolitzer presents three works that contemplate a way out—of our lives, and even of this world. In Joe Meno’s “Books You Read,” performed by Joan Allen, a young boy helps his jaded teacher to love reading again. J. Robert Lennon takes us into deep space and a conversation between a computer and a survivor in “Escape Pod W41,” performed by Stephen Lang. A composition created by Lakecia Benjamin in response to the story, and performed by Junie Mojica, is also featured. And marriage, and a friendship, are tested in Jac Jemc’s “Infidelity,” performed by Kathleen Chalfont. All three stories were commissioned for SELECTED SHORTS’ anthology Small Odysseys.

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
2.6K Ratings

2.6K Ratings

artsdistrictchic ,

The stories are ruined if I don’t….

….catch them exactly when they are ending. So many times I have enjoyed a story on this podcast and when it ends I am lost in thought about it. Then, suddenly I am ripped out of that wonderful feeling by Meg Walletzer and her unbearable commentary.

I’ve found it pretty simple to fast forward past Meg Willitsir’s intros (which are all sad little bits of her relating everything to her own life and always pointing out that she’s a writer too!) The intros are easy to dismiss as pathetic even if I accidentally hear a moment or two. The outros are so bad that even hearing one or two words of them can ruin a story.

Meg Wulletzaar’s compulsion to impart her godlike wisdom feels almost malicious. Meg explains the bigger meanings as she is the puzzle master and we are all dumbstruck. She breaks it down even more for all of us idiots and tells us specifically how the story “relates” to our everyday lives.

Recently I had to listen to an outro I was on Bluetooth headphones and I couldn’t get to my phone, it happened to be commentary from a book club. It was so different than Meg’s toxic thoughts even though some of them focused on bigger themes. Some of them disagreed and some of them just said little things that they noticed and liked. It was great, it made me think about the story even more. I realized this is what Meg thinks she is doing. Oh well, as long as I catch the stories before I even hear a split second of Meg’s dogmatic voice this is a great podcast!

d/wj/b ,

Immersion

True writers read by exceptional actors who relate to what they are reading. Some stories remind me why I love literature others are just curious. But I love both, equally.

SassyVP ,

Mumbo jumbo heap of mess

Just can’t listen to this podcast. Seems to be steeped in gay experiences and it just is. It what I want to listen to.

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