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Event Program

Selected Shorts: McSweeney's 25th Anniversary Extravaganza



Hosted by John Hodgman

Poor Little Egg-Boy Hatched in a Shul by Nathan Englander

Illustrations by Jordin Isip

Performed by Maeve Higgins

Stay Brave, My Hercules by Ernie Wang

Performed by BD Wong

An Unlucky Man by Samanta Schweblin

Translated by Megan McDowell

Performed by Carmen Lynch

Music by Stephin Merritt

"The Book of Love" and "Smile! (No one Cares How you Feel)"

Shouting Wenkie by Peter Orner

Performed by Jordan Klepper

At this performance of Selected Shorts, real-time captioning (CART) will be available in our theater for patrons with hearing loss, deafness, and/or different language and learning needs. CART can be accessed through individual smartphones and tablets at

The Performers (in alphabetical order)

The Authors (in alphabetical order)



“Poor Little Egg-Boy Hatched in a Shul,” by Nathan Englander. First published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (Issue 28, September 2008) © by Nathan Englander. Broadcast by permission of Nathan Englander and Aragi Inc. All rights reserved.

“Stay Brave, My Hercules,” by Ernie Wang, from McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (Issue 51, December 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Ernie Wang. Used by permission of the author.

“An Unlucky Man,” by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell, from McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (Issue 65, December 2021). Copyright © 2021 by Samanta Schweblin. English translation © Megan McDowell. Used by permission of Writers House.

“Shouting Wenkie,” by Peter Orner, from McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (Issue 57, 2019). Copyright © 2019 by Peter Orner. Used by permission of Trident Media Group.

About McSweeney's

Founded in 1998 by Dave Eggers, McSweeney’s is an independent nonprofit publishing company based in San Francisco. As well as operating the acclaimed daily humor website, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, McSweeney’s also publishes several award-winning literary magazines, including McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, a nine-time finalist and three-time winner of the National Magazine Award for Fiction; The Believer, a thirteen-time finalist for National Magazine Awards; and beloved and celebrated Illustoria Magazine, for younger readers; as well as an intrepid and ever-growing selection of books.


Selected Shorts is supported by the Dungannon Foundation, creator of The Rea Award for the Short Story.

Support is also provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, the MacMillan Family Foundation, the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, The Achelis and Bodman Foundation, the Henry Nias Foundation, the Charina Endowment Fund, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Michael Tuch Foundation, the Vidda Foundation, the Axe-Houghton Foundation, and The Grodzins Fund.

Selected Shorts is also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

Symphony Space thanks our generous supporters, including our Board of Directors, Producers Circle, and members, who make our programs possible with their annual support.

Flowers courtesy of PlantShed.

Symphony Space Staff

Kathy Landau Executive Director
Peg Wreen
Managing Director
Isaiah Sheffer
Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director (1978-1988)
Artistic Director (1988-2010)
Founding Artistic Director (2010-2012)
Allan Miller
Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director (1978-1988)

Jennifer Brennan Director of Literary Programs
Drew Richardson
Lead Producer of Literary Programs
Vivienne Woodward
Producer of Literary Programs
Mary Shimkin
Director of Broadcast & Literary Initiatives
Sarah Montague Selected Shorts Radio Producer
Jenny Falcon Selected Shorts Radio Producer
Miles B. Smith Selected Shorts Recording Engineer
Matthew Love Consultant for Literary Programs
Magdalene Wrobleski
Literary Assistant
Mollie Gordon Program Assistant
Madeleine Hearn
Literary Intern
Gabriela Parra
Lambis Literary Intern

*in memoriam

Your generosity makes possible a vibrant array of music, literature, film, family, and arts education programs!