On Selected Shorts great actors from stage, screen and television bring short stories to life in a one-hour program featuring readings of classic and new short fiction, recorded live at New York's Symphony Space. The program's longtime host, Isaiah Sheffer, passed away in 2012. The program is now being hosted by actor John Lithgow.
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Guest host David Sedaris presents three stories about hard choices. In Amy Hempel’s “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried,” two old friends face death together and apart. The reader is Mary Beth Hurt. In Tobias Wolff’s “The Night in Question” a sister and brother disagree about the right thing to do. Lou Antonio reads. And Sedaris gives an hilarious performance of Frank Gannon’s “I Know What I’m Doing About All the Attention I’ve Been Getting,” about a narcissist with an existential wardrobe crisis.
Guest host David Sedaris presents a program of stories by Dorothy Parker, a member of the witty Algonquin Roundtable. A honeymoon disintegrates in “Here We Are,” read by Jane Alexander; a woman has one too many in a speakeasy in “Just a Little One,” read by Dana Ivey, and indie star Parker Posey describes the partner from Hell in “The Waltz.”
Guest host David Sedaris presents a program celebrating the late David Rakoff, and praising him as a great reader and “lover of language.” Rakoff reads Leonard Michaels’ “Cryptology,” in which a neurotic mathematician has a strange encounter, and Roberto Bolano’s “Gomez Palacio,” which is a dead-end town where a young man’s life nevertheless takes a turn for the better.
Colson Whitehead, Walter Dean Myers, and Susan Cheever praise Central Park, and late baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti talks about the green fields of the mind. Readers include Leonard Nimoy, Eric Poindexter, and Debra Monk.
Richard Ford’s Leaving for Kenosha portrays the delicate dynamics between a father and a daughter, and the friendship between two girls in post-Katrina New Orleans. The reader is David Strathairn.