Selected Shorts brings a quartet of moving and comic short stories into your home with characters who reveal their innermost lives. Host Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie) and actors Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Andrea Martin (Great News), and Colby Minifie (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) present a dazzling band of comedians, lovers, wives, and world travelers, with stories by Steve Almond, Shirley Jackson, Laura van den Berg, and Colson Whitehead.
Virtual Selected Shorts will premiere on August 12 @7:30PM on the Symphony Space YouTube channel.
Hosted by Baron Vaughn
What a Thought by Shirley Jackson
Performed by Andrea Martin
The Comedian by Colson Whitehead
Performed by Baron Vaughn
Cult of Mary by Laura van den Berg
Performed by Colby Minifie
A Happy Dream by Steve Almond
Performed by Michael Imperioli
To learn more about the artists
THE ARTISTS (in alphabetical order)
Steve Almond is the author of the story collections God Bless America, The Evil B.B. Chow, and My Life in Heavy Metal, as well as the nonfiction books Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, Candyfreak, (Not That You Asked), Against Football, and Bad Stories. His stories have appeared in Tin House, Playboy, Zoetrope, and Ecotone, among other magazines, and have been reprinted in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize.
Michael Imperioli is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Perfume Burned His Eyes published in 2018 by Akashic Books. He is best known for his Emmy winning performance as Christopher Moltisanti on The Sopranos. He also wrote five episodes of the show and was co-screenwriter of the film Summer of Sam directed by Spike Lee. Imperioli has appeared in six of Lee’s films and has also acted in films by Martin Scorsese, Abel Ferrara, Walter Hill, Peter Jackson, and The Hughes Brothers. Michael and his wife, Victoria, founded and were artistic directors of the off-Broadway theater Studio Dante, which was dedicated to new works of theater.
Shirley Jackson (1916 - 1965) was an American author whose works include the novels The Road Through the Wall, The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and the short story collections The Lottery and Other Stories and Dark Tales. Her stories have been widely anthologized and featured in The Best American Short Stories and the O. Henry Prize Stories, and she was twice awarded the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Short Story. The Haunting of Hill House was a finalist for The National Book Award and has been made into two feature films, a play, and most recently, a television series on Netflix. The Shirley Jackson Award was established in 2007 to honor outstanding achievement in the genres of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.
Andrea Martin is a two-time Tony Award winner for her performances in the musicals My Favorite Year and Pippin and a two-time Emmy award winner for her work on SCTV. Additional Broadway credits include her Tony nominated performances in Oklahoma!, Candide, Young Frankenstein, and Noises Off. On film, Martin appeared in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 1 and 2, and Night at the Museum 3, among others. Her TV credits include Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 30 Rock, Modern Family, Hairspray Live, Difficult People, Great News, and The Good Fight. Martin voices the role of Queen Nefariousness in the star-studded Audible Original Heads Will Roll. Her memoir, Lady Parts, was published in 2014.
Colby Minifie has recently been seen on the television series Fear the Walking Dead, The Boys, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. She has appeared on Broadway in The Pillowman, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and Six Degrees of Separation. Additional television credits include Madam Secretary, Dietland, Law & Order, Glee, Nurse Jackie, The Blacklist, The Michael J. Fox Show, and Black Box. On film, she has been featured in Deep Powder, Camilla Dickinson, The Greatest, The Winning Season, Don’t Think Twice, Paterno, Submission, The Super, An Actor Prepares, and Radium Girls. Minifie will appear in the upcoming films Victor in Paradise, ’m Thinking of Ending Things, and Homebody.
Laura van den Berg is the author of the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, The Isle of Youth, and the novels Find Me and The Third Hotel, which was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and an Indie Next pick, and was named a best book of 2018 by more than a dozen publications. She is the recipient of a Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Bard Fiction Prize, a PEN/O. Henry Award, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and is a two-time finalist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.
Baron Vaughn is a writer, producer, director, actor, and comedian, who currently appears on Netflix's Grace & Frankie and as the host of SYFY's The Great Debate. Additional television credits include Fairly Legal, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Girls, Right Now Kapow, BoJack Horseman, Superstore, Corporate, Those Who Can’t, Black-ish, and as the voice of Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000. He is also the creator of the documentary Fatherless. As a stand-up comedian, Vaughn tours widely and has been featured on Comedy Central’s The Half Hour. He has two comedy recordings, Raised by Cable and Blaxistential Crisis, and is the co-creator and co-host of Comedy Central’s The New Negroes. Upcoming projects include The Time Capsule, Wild Life, and Scroll Wheel of Time.
Colson Whitehead is the number one New York Times bestselling author of nine books of fiction and non-fiction, including The Underground Railroad, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award and was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. He is also a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships. In 2020, he won his second Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Nickel Boys. Whitehead was recently honored with the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.
“What a Thought” by Shirley Jackson, from Just an Ordinary Day (Bantam, 1996). Copyright © 1996 by Shirley Jackson. Used by permission of Laurence Jackson Hyman.
“The Comedian” by Colson Whitehead, from Electric Literature (February 2013). Copyright © 2013 by Colson Whitehead. Used by permission of Aragi Inc.
“The Cult of Mary” by Laura van den Berg, from I Hold A Wolf By The Ears (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020). Copyright © 2020 by Laura van den Berg. Used by permission of Curtis Brown Ltd.
“A Happy Dream” by Steve Almond, from The Evil B.B. Chow (Algonquin Books, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Steve Almond. Used by permission of the author.
Selected Shorts is produced by Symphony Space and broadcast on more than 150 stations around the country. The series began in 1985 and enjoys sold-out performances to this day. Selected Shorts was conceived with a simple premise: take great stories by well-known and emerging writers and have them performed by terrific actors of stage and screen. Featuring stories around a lively theme, the favorite works of a guest author, or a special collaboration, each Selected Shorts event is a unique night of literature in performance.
Recent readers include Ellen Burstyn, Kate Walsh, Bebe Neuwirth, Claire Danes, Michael Shannon, Kyle Maclachlan, LeVar Burton, Jane Curtin, Danielle Brooks, Cynthia Nixon, Rainn Wilson, Holly Hunter, Hugh Dancy, Joan Allen, Josh Radnor, Tony Shalhoub, Maggie Gyllenhaal, BD Wong, and more.
Symphony Space's YouTube Channel