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.

This event has been canceled as part of Getty's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Selected Shorts

It Takes Two

Date: Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15, 2020
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium

Pen and paper, a tango, peanut butter and jelly: some things just take two. The hit public radio show and podcast Selected Shorts returns to the Getty to celebrate the power of two with classic and contemporary short fiction featuring a pair of strong characters that push one another to unexpected conclusions, and stories that emphasize what happens in moments of great cooperation, competing desires, and unexpected encounters. At this weekend of literature in performance, renowned actors of stage and screen will be paired with authors to bring the written word to life. Grab your partner, best friend or your arch-nemesis and find out why two heads are better than one.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." – Helen Keller

Nate Corddry, Gildart Jackson, Colin Hanks, Melora Hardin, Justin Kirk, Anika Noni Rose, Busy Philipps, Natasha Rothwell, Kirsten Vangsness, Steven Weber, Rainn Wilson

Saturday, March 14, 2020, at 4:00 p.m.
Hosted by Nate Corddry

"He and She" by Anton Chekhov (Translated by Michele A. Berdy)
Performed by Melora Hardin and Gildart Jackson

"Something Shiny" by Elizabeth Crane
Performed by Anika Noni Rose

"A Happy Dream" by Steve Almond
Performed by Colin Hanks

"Ping-Pong with Pontius Pilate" by Greg Ames
Performed by Nate Corddry

Sunday, March 15, 2020, at 4:00 p.m.
Hosted by Kirsten Vangsness

"Any Other" by Jac Jemc
Performed by Busy Philipps

"Grand Union" by Zadie Smith
Performed by Natasha Rothwell

"Here We Are" by Dorothy Parker
Performed by Justin Kirk and Kirsten Vangsness

"A Confession in the Spirit of Openness Right from the Beginning"
by Jonathan Blum
Performed by Rainn Wilson

"Shouting Wenkie" by Peter Orner
Performed by Steven Weber

Cast and stories are subject to change.

Most recently in the series

Selected Shorts 2019: Entanglements
March 23 and 24, 2019
That classically trained, Oscar-caliber actor who brings gravitas to an enduring text. That quirky, indie darling who wrings every little laugh from a modern writer's dialogue. Sometimes, the marriage between performer and text is undeniable—the connection is dynamic and uncanny, yet completely natural. The hit public radio show and podcast Selected Shorts takes things one step further in an evening of memorable live performances. In collaboration with actors and special guest introducers, the beloved series pairs stories and storytellers sure to fit like a glove.

Selected Shorts 2018: A Feast of Fiction
March 24 and 25, 2018
Open up and say "Mmm," as longtime public radio staple Selected Shorts whets your appetite for an evening of mouthwatering food fictions. Whether the stories take place over steak au poivre on the crisp, white tablecloth at a five-star restaurant or huddled above a can of beans on the camp stove, they prove George Bernard Shaw's contention that "there is no love sincerer than the love of food." Noted actors from TV, film, and the Broadway stage bring every catty celebrity chef and avowed Spam connoisseur off the page. Be warned, these decadent fictions will make you forget your calorie count and order two desserts.

Selected Shorts 2017: April Antics: Fictions & Foolery
April 1 and 2, 2017
The popular radio show and podcast Selected Shorts returns for the annual spring fling with some of the nation's best stage and screen actors who will perform a program of everything from light farce to biting satire, as well as some rich, reflective tales of everyday human folly. Whether witnessing mischievous cats as they outwit their wicked owners or traveling with a blind magician, these three distinct programs will leave you feeling treated, not tricked. And Beyoncé will perform a musical half-time show as humorist Mark Twain—okay, we couldn't resist getting started early—April Fool's! Jane Kaczmarek hosts the series and leads an all-star cast including René Auberjonois, Paget Brewster, Yvette Nicole Brown, Sharon Gless, Tony Hale, Michael Imperioli, Justin Kirk, Joe Mande, Christina Pickles, Liev Schreiber, and Kirsten Vangsness.

Selected Shorts 2016: Let Us Tell You a Story
March 19 and 20, 2016
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.

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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