The Getty Center
Angelica Houston at a past Selected Shorts

Produced by New York's Symphony Space, Selected Shorts is an annual series featuring actors from stage, screen, and television reading classic and new short fiction. The series is held each spring at the Getty Center.

Next in the series


Selected Shorts 2016:
Dangers & Discoveries

Date: Saturday, March 19 and
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Time: 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday; 4:00 p.m. on Sunday
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Tickets: $20

Inspired by the Getty Center's exhibition Noir: The Romance of Black, the popular public radio podcast Selected Shorts returns for a weekend of live performances of stories exploring darkness and light. Hollywood and stage actors perform adventurous fiction that leads you through a landscape of treachery, madness, and redemption. The weekend features three shows full of cryptic characters, mysterious surroundings, and that long-awaited "Aha!" moment. From surviving the apocalypse to unmasking family secrets, these thrilling stories will leave you breathless and wanting more. Jane Kaczmarek hosts the series and leads an all-star cast including René Auberjonois, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Gibson, Melora Hardin, Alex Karpovsky, Joshua Malina, Catherine O'Hara, Josh Radnor, Lance Reddick, Pablo Schreiber, Kirsten Vangsness, Joanne Whalley.

Saturday, March 19, 4:00 p.m.
"Animal Hospital" by Joe Meno
Performed by Jane Kaczmarek

"Flotsam" by Diane Cook
Performed by Melora Hardin

"Encounters with Unexpected Animals" by Bret Anthony Johnston
Performed by Kirsten Vangsness


"Chainsaw Apple" by Arthur Bradford
Performed by Josh Radnor

"Indianapolis (Highway 74)" by Sam Shepard
Performed by Bryan Cranston

Saturday, March 19, 7:00 p.m.
"Apocalypse" by Jack Handey
Performed by Jane Kaczmarek

"Blue Girl" by Elizabeth Crane
Performed by Catherine O'Hara

"Paranoia" by Shirley Jackson
Performed by Thomas Gibson


"The Wish" by Roald Dahl
Performed by Pablo Schreiber

"Madame Lazarus" by Maile Meloy
Performed by René Auberjonois

Sunday, March 20, 4:00 p.m.
"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Performed by Alex Karpovsky

"Thief" by Jess Walter
Performed by Joshua Malina


"The Long QT" by Hilary Mantel
Performed by Joanne Whalley

"A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud." by Carson McCullers
Performed by Lance Reddick

Selected Shorts logo


Related Event

Art and Heart: The World of Isaiah Sheffer
Followed by Q&A with director Catherine Tambini

Date: Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and March 20, 2016
Time: 1 p.m. (Running time 52 minutes)
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; no reservations required.

A new documentary by Catherine Tambini celebrates the eclectic career of Isaiah Sheffer, founding artistic director of Symphony Space, and resonant voice of Selected Shorts on public radio. Sheffer's life as an artist and cultural entrepreneur in New York City is shared via intercuts of archival material, stage performances and interviews with friends and colleagues, revealing his impact on the arts scene and the tremendous effect he had on those around him.

Most recently in the series

Selected Shorts 2015: Tales after Dark
March 21 and 22, 2015
The popular public radio series and podcast returned for a weekend of live performances, offering a varied selection of stories set after hours. Tales historical, present day and futuristic were all in the mix. A romantic soiree, a fantastic exploration of the moon, a blind woman's adventures in a mysterious Manhattan, a wild holiday party during a blizzard, a lonely motel on a deserted road, a rendezvous at a bar on a Parisian side street, a dreamy after-hours adventure in a time-travel machine, and a funny family movie night with an unexpected guest are among the after-dark settings and scenarios of these romantic, mysterious, fantastical, gritty, magical, and compelling tales. Robert Sean Leonard hosted the series and lead an all-star cast including Sean Astin, Wren T. Brown, Wyatt Cenac, Heather Goldenhersh, Jane Kaczmarek, Christina Pickles, Liev Schreiber, Kirsten Vangsness and more.

Selected Shorts 2014: Drama at Dinner
March 22 and 23, 2014
The ever-popular public radio series returned for a weekend of live performance, offering stories revolving around the theme of food—enjoyed, prepared, devoured, or ignored. This literary feast touched on romances and coming of age stories, mysteries, adventures, marital woes, and the cozy complications of family life. Robert Sean Leonard hosted the series and lead a great cast including Jane Kaczmarek, Michael Imperioli, Christopher Lloyd, Joshua Malina, Catherine O'Hara, Christina Pickles, and Amber Tamblyn reading delectable tales set in kitchens, at dinner parties, behind the scenes in restaurants, at family dinner tables, and even a mad hatter's tea party.

Selected Shorts 2013: Passions & Pursuits
March 23 and 24, 2013
The popular public-radio series was back with live performances at the Getty that detailed fictions about our favorite leisure activities. Actors from stage and screen performed stories about the pleasures and travails of all the things we love to do—from baking to ballroom dancing, card-playing to movie-watching, and knitting to sex. 2013's stellar lineup included readings by Leonard Nimoy, Jane Kaczmarek, Robert Sean Leonard, Kate Burton, Alison Pill and more. A collection of works by Etgar Keret, Tess Gallagher, Joyce Carol Oates, John Cheever, and Dorothy Parker were selected to feed your passion for short fiction.

Selected Shorts 2012: Objects of Desire
March 3 and 4, 2012
The hit public-radio series returned for its annual weekend of live performance at the Getty with a great lineup of actors from stage and screen that read funny, passionate, and mysterious classic and modern tales about objects of desire. Historical, religious, magical, humorous, beloved, or bewitched—every object tells a story. Featuring readings by Leonard Nimoy, Corey Stoll, Brian F. O'Byrne, Jane Kaczmarek, Robert Sean Leonard, Isaiah Sheffer, and others, the programs included works by Jonathan Lethem, Raymond Carver, Abigail Thomas, Maeve Brennan, Susan Perabo, and Aimee Bender and more.

Selected Shorts 2011: Delicious Fictions
March 26 and 27, 2011
Leonard Nimoy, Tim Curry, Denis O'Hare, and Josh Radnor lead this year's lineup of terrific actors reading luscious tales of food and passions, politics, mystery, and deep-sea adventure. Classic and new, the stories are set in diverse locales: a shabby Brooklyn kitchen, a submarine off the West African coast, a fancy Manhattan society dinner party, Don Quixote's Karaoke Bar in Oklahoma City, and beyond.

Selected Shorts 2010: At Home
May 1 and 2, 2010
The annual literary series returned in 2010 with a weekend of stories about home. Moving, comical, romantic, heart wrenching, heartwarming, and thought provoking, these readings examined the way we live. Featuring readings by René Auberjonois, Kirsten Vangsness, Fionnula Flanagan, Ed Asner, Jane Kaczmarek, and others, the programs included works by Richard Ford, Miranda July, Yasunari Kawabata, John Updike, and Julie Otsuka, to name a few.

Selected Shorts 2009: Unforgettable Journeys
May 2 and 3, 2009
The 2009 lineup explored destinations real and imaginary, far flung, and close at hand, with journeys featuring wild adventures, comic mishaps, and unexpected encounters. Stories by Todd McEwen, Lorrie Moore, Hunter S. Thompson, Marguerite Yourcenar, and more were read by a distinguished lineup of actors including James Cromwell, Kate Burton, Alec Baldwin, and Fionnula Flanagan, and more.

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