Spellbinding short stories by established and emerging writers take on a new life when they are performed by stars of the stage and screen.
Facts and Legends
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three stories where facts, beliefs, and fabrications coincide. Essayist Samantha Irby debunks nature, fresh air, and sunshine in “The Case for Remaining Indoors,” performed by Retta. Rebecca Makkai shares tattered facts about a terrorist in “Everything We Know About the Bomber,” performed by John Cameron Mitchell. And Michael McKean brings a difficult prankster father to life in Walter Kirn’s “The Hoaxer.”
Trust Your Senses
Guest host Michael Cerveris presents stories in which trusting your senses is important. In Jeanne Dixon’s “Blue Waltz with Coyotes,” a rebellious farm girl flirts with danger. It’s read by Mia Dillon. And Aimee Bender creates a fairytale for our time in “The Color Master,” whose crafts is creating clothes that mirror nature. Denis O’Hare is the reader.
Too Hot For Radio: Katherine Heiny "Cranberry Relish"
Just in time for the holidays, a story that will speak to any of us who sometimes can't shake the feeling that the grass is always greener. In a story that is at once utterly hilarious and achingly poignant, Katherine Heiny chronicles the ways in which we are unfaithful to each other, both willfully and unwittingly. This story comes from her collection called Single, Carefree, Mellow. Heiny’s work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, and she recently published a novel called Standard Deviation. To read this story is an actor we simply couldn’t do without at Selected Shorts. Jane Kaczmarek has performed in everything from Long Day’s Journey Into Night to Malcolm in the Middle. After her reading, Jane talks with host Aparna Nancherla. This story was performed as part of our show at the annual SF Sketchfest.
Guest host Hope Davis presents stories about family ties. A mixed-race college student has a comic encounter in "My Brother at the Canadian Border," by Sholeh Wolpe, read by Maulik Pancholy. Marriage is really for better or worse in Lauren Schenkman's "A Guide to Fooling Yourself,” read by Kaneza Schaal. A young man meets his boozy dad in "Reunion," by John Cheever, read by Bruce Altman. And Viet Thanh Nguyen tells a heartbreaking and mystical tale of Vietnamese immigrants in "Black-Eyed Women," read by Jennifer Ikeda.
Motherhood with Celeste Ng & Mary Karr
On this show, guest host Kate Burton introduces two stories that look at the joys and complexity of motherhood. They were chosen by the novelist Celeste Ng and memoirist and essayist Mary Karr. In “Looking for a Thief,” by Danielle Lazarin, a suburban mother questions her choices. The story is performed by Heather Burns. And Burton reads Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing,” in which another mother wonders if she’s done right by a challenging first child.
Guest host Josh Radnor presents two stories about expectation, hope and disenchantment. A navy wife isn't charmed by the Riviera, until a chance encounter changes everything, in Richard Yates' “Evening on the Côte d’Azur," read by Edie Falco. And a video parlor run by a lonely widower is the source of solace and catastrophe in an early George Saunders story. Josh Radnor reads “Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz.”
An Evening with LeVar Burton
Guest host LeVar Burton presents two of his favorite stories. In Lucia Berlin’s “Friends,” the characters have different ideas about who benefits from their weekly lunches. The reader is Lydia Gaston. Next, Burton himself reads Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s powerful “Control Negro,” in which an academic and father tries a real-world experiment to prove a theory about racism.
1 hr 1 min
Hauntings for Halloween
Guest host Kate Burton presents some unusual chillers for Halloween. Edgar Allan Poe is haunted by a childhood memory in Russell Banks’ “The Caul,” performed by Richard Masur. Poe’s eerie “The Raven” is performed by Rene Auberjonois, Fionnula Flanagan, Isaiah Sheffer, and Harris Yulin. A dying emperor tries to communicate in “An Imperial Message,” by Franz Kafka, performed by Kaneza Schaal. And Agatha Christie tells a ghost story in “The Lamp,” performed by Rita Wolf.