F. Murray Abraham (Homeland), Matthew Broderick (Daybreak), Jin Ha (Devs), Sonia Manzano (Sesame Street), and Karen Pittman (The Morning Show) celebrate the glories and challenges of life in Gotham with a selection of short stories, essays, and poems evocative of what some call "the greatest city in the world." Hosted by comedian Wyatt Cenac (Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas).PROGRAM
The Lower East Side of Manhattan by Victor Hernández Cruz
Performed by Sonia Manzano
The Grid by Rick Moody
Performed by Jin Ha
A Fable by Robert Fox
Performed by Matthew Broderick
Dessert by Colum McCann
Performed by F. Murray Abraham
Home to Flatbush by Vinson Cunningham
Performed by Wyatt Cenac
Recognition by Victor LaValle
Performed by Karen Pittman
Books by tonight's featured authors can be purchased from our friends at Strand. Use the code SYMPHONYSPACE to receive 10% off your purchase.
This is a virtual event. Ticket holders can watch the event on the Watch Here section of the Symphony Space website. You can tune in at the premiere or view at your leisure for two weeks afterwards. This event will premiere on December 2 and is available until December 16.
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To Learn About the Artists
F. Murray Abraham has appeared in more than 80 films, including Amadeus, for which he received the Academy Award for Best Actor, as well as Golden Globe and L.A. Film Critics awards. Additional films include House of Geraniums, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, The Name of the Rose, Finding Forrester, Scarface, The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Ritz, Star Trek: Insurrection, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inside Llewyn Davis, How to Train Your Dragon 3, Lady and the Tramp, and the forthcoming Things Heard & Seen. His television appearances include Marco Polo,The Good Wife, The Good Fight, Louis CK, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Homeland (for which he received two Emmy nominations), Shakespeare Uncovered, Chimerica for the BBC, and Mythic Quest. A veteran of the stage, Abraham has appeared in more than 90 plays, among them Uncle Vanya, Trumbo, Standup Shakespeare, the Italian tour of Notturno Pirandelliano, Susan Stroman's A Christmas Carol, Angels In America, and the title roles in Cyrano de Bergerac, King Lear, Macbeth, Richard III, The Merchant of Venice, and The Jew of Malta. He made his LA debut in Ray Bradbury's The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit and his New York debut as a Macy's Santa Claus, soon thereafter to Broadway in The Man in the Glass Booth, directed by Harold Pinter. Honors include The Moscow Art Theatre Stanislavski Award, The Sir John Gielgud Award for Excellence in Shakespeare, two Obies, and a member of The New York Theater Hall of Fame. Abraham is the spokesman for the MultiFaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees and the author of A Midsummer Night's Dream: Actors On Shakespeare through Faber & Faber.
Two-time Tony award-winning stage actor and instantly recognizable film presence, Matthew Broderick was last seen on screen in Shawn Snyder’s To Dust, which won the Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award for Narrative Feature, and the animated comedy Wonder Park, starring Jennifer Garner and Mila Kunis. He recently starred in Rules Don’t Apply, directed by and starring Warren Beatty, as well as Manchester by the Sea. Broderick’s recent stage credits include The Starry Messenger at Wyndham’s Theatre, The Seafarer with the Irish Repertory Theatre, The Closet at the Williamstown Theater Festival, The New Group’s Evening at the Talk House, and Shining City with the Irish Repertory Theatre, earning OBIEs for both performances. Additional theater credits include Torch Song Trilogy, for which he was honored with an Outer Critics Circle Award, Sylvia, It’s Only a Play, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Odd Couple, The Foreigner, The Producers, which was adapted into a feature film, Brighton Beach Memoirs, which earned him his first Tony Award, and the play’s sequel, Biloxi Blues. Broderick won his second Tony in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. On screen, Broderick has starred in You Can Count on Me, Election, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Glory, War Games, and The Lion King, as the adult voice of Simba. Additional credits include The American Side, Dirty Weekend, Tower Heist, Margaret, Bee Movie, Then She Found Me, Deck the Halls, The Last Shot, The Stepford Wives, Inspector Gadget, Godzilla, Addicted to Love, The Cable Guy, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, The Night We Never Met, The Freshman, Family Business, and Max Dugan Returns. On television, Broderick was last seen in Netflix’s Daybreak, Fox’s musical event A Christmas Story Live!, Modern Family, 30 Rock, Showtime’s Master Harold . . . and the Boys, and received an Emmy nomination for the TNT production of David Mamet’s A Life in the Theater. Broderick will next star in the Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite alongside his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker.
Wyatt Cenac is an Emmy Award-winning comedian, actor, producer, and writer known for the HBO late- night comedy docuseries Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas. Additional credits include the Emmy nominated web series aka Wyatt Cenac, which he created, directed, and starred in, the TBS sitcom People of the Earth, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he served as a writer and correspondent. He's made four comedy albums Wyatt Cenac: Comedy Person, the Grammy nominated Brooklyn, Furry Dumb Fighter, and One Angry Night in November, and hosted the televised stand-up variety series Night Train with Wyatt Cenac. He started his career in animation as a writer for Mike Judge's King of the Hill and has served as a consultant for South Park. Every now and again he pops up in a film, most notably Barry Jenkins’ Medicine for Melancholy.
Victor Hernández Cruz was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico. He moved to New York City with his family when he was five years old. At 17, he self-published his first book, Papo Got His Gun! And Other Poems, on a mimeograph machine. Since then, he has published numerous collections, including Beneath the Spanish; In the Shadow of Al-Andalus; The Mountain in the Sea; Red Beans; Rhythm, Content, and Flavor: New and Selected Poems; By Lingual Wholes; and Snaps. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. From 2018 to 2013, he served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Cruz is a co-founder of the Before Columbus Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the recognition of multicultural writers.
Vinson Cunningham joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2016. Since 2019, he has served as a theater critic for the magazine. In 2020, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for his Profile of the comedian Tracy Morgan. His writing on books, art, and culture has appeared in the Times Magazine, the Times Book Review, Vulture, The Awl, The Fader, and McSweeney’s, where he wrote a column called “Field Notes from Gentrified Places.” Cunningham previously served as a staff assistant at the Obama White House.
Robert Fox (1943 - 2005) was a writer and poet who spent his professional life creating a nurturing environment for Ohio’s writers. He is the founding editor of Carpenter Press, established in 1973, and the author of six books, most recently, Moving Out, Finding Home, a book of essays; and Passing, a book of poems. For more than 20 years he served as literature program coordinator for the Ohio Arts Council. Fox was also a noted blues guitarist and boogie-woogie pianist.
Jin Ha is currently shooting the upcoming Apple TV adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s bestselling novel Pachinko. He can be seen in FX’s Devs, HBO Max's Love Life, and in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert. Stage credits include the Chicago company of Hamilton: an American Musical in the role of Aaron Burr and the Broadway revival of David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly. Ha is an alumnus of the NYU Graduate Acting program.
Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, four novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, and The Changeling, two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom, and the graphic novel Destroyer. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a World Fantasy Award, a Bram Stoker Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award, an American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens. LaValle’s fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Granta, GQ, Essence, The Fader, and The Washington Post, among other publications.
Sonia Manzano is a groundbreaking Latina educator, executive television producer, and award-winning children’s book author. A first-generation mainland Puerto Rican, she has affected the lives of millions of parents and children since the early 1970s, when she was offered the opportunity to play Maria on Sesame Street, for which she received an Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Manzano has also received 15 Emmys for writing, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award, the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education. Her critically acclaimed children’s books include A World Together, No Dogs Allowed!, A Box Full of Kittens, Miracle on 133rd Street, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, and the memoir Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx. Manzano recently signed a multi-book publishing program with Scholastic.
Colum McCann is the author of the novels Apeirogon,TransAtlantic, Let the Great World Spin, Zoli, Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Songdogs, as well as the story collections Everything in this Country Must, Fishing the Sloe-Black River, and Thirteen Ways of Looking. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he has been the recipient of many international honors, including the National Book Award, the International Dublin Impac Prize, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish Arts Academy, several European awards, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. His work has been published in over 40 languages. He is the co-founder of the non-profit global story exchange organization, Narrative 4, and he teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College.
Rick Moody’s first novel, Garden State, was the winner of the 1991 Editor’s Choice Award from the Pushcart Press. His second novel, The Ice Storm, was released as a film in 1997, directed by Ang Lee, and won Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival. He is also the author of On Celestial Music: And Other Adventures in Listening, The Four Fingers of Death, The Diviners, Purple America, Hotels of North America, and most recently, The Long Accomplishment: A Memoir of Hope and Struggle in Matrimony. He has been honored with numerous awards, including a Guggenheim fellowship, the Addison Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the PEN Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. His other works include Demonology,The Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions, and his work has been anthologized in Best American Stories, Best American Essays, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. Moody co-founded the Young Lions Book Award at the New York Public Library.
Karen Pittman is an accomplished actress in American theater, television, and cinema. She has originated many theater roles, including Jory in Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Tony-nominated play, Disgraced, of which she received the 2015 Theatre World Award. Her most recent cinematic release, the award-winning Pipeline, was adapted from a play in which she starred in at Lincoln Center; she was nominated for both an Outstanding Lead Actress’ Lucille Lortel Award and Broadway League’s Distinguished Performance Award. She originated the role of Charlotte in Claudia Rankine’s The White Card in its debut production in collaboration with ArtsEmerson and American Repertory Theatre, at The Paramount Theatre. She has worked in numerous Broadway and off-Broadway plays in New York City, and in regional theaters across the country. Pittman is best known for her role as Mia Jordan on Apple TV’s Golden Globe-nominated show The Morning Show, for her role as Lisa on FX’s award-winning series The Americans, and as Priscilla Ridley on Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix. She has starred in numerous television shows, including The Blacklist,Girlfriends Guide, Horace and Pete, Madam Secretary, Blindspot, Elementary, House of Cards, Law & Order, and more. She has also starred in the films Detroit, Custody,The Rewrite, and Begin Again. In the Summer of 2019, she recurred in AMC’s NOS4A2 with Zachary Quinto and starred alongside Paul Rudd in the Netflix television series Living with Yourself. In 2020, she appeared on the final season of Showtime’s Homeland, and portrays Willa Hays on Paramount TV’s most watched television series, Yellowstone.
“The Lower East Side of Manhattan” by Victor Hernández Cruz, from Maraca: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000 (October 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Victor Hernández Cruz. Used by permission of Coffee House Press.
“Home to Flatbush” by Vinson Cunningham, from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency (May 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Vinson Cunningham. Used by permission of the author.
“A Fable” by Robert Fox, from Sudden Fiction: American Short-Short Stories. Copyright © 1986 by Gibbs. M. Smith, Inc.
“Recognition” by Victor LaValle, from The New York Times Magazine (July 2020). Copyright © 2020 by Victor LaValle. Used by permission of Watkins/Loomis Agency, Inc.
“Dessert” by Colum McCann, from The New Yorker (September 2011). Copyright © 2011 by Colum McCann. Used by permission of The Wylie Agency, LLC.
“The Grid” by Rick Moody, from Harper’s (December 1994). Copyright © 1994 by Rick Moody. Used by permission of the author.
Selected Shorts is supported by the Dungannon Foundation, sponsor of The Rea Award for the Short Story. Support is also provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust, The Shubert Foundation, the Charina Endowment Fund, The Scherman Foundation, the Henry Nias Foundation, the Axe-Houghton Foundation, the Lemberg Foundation, and The Grodzins Fund. Selected Shorts is also made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo 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.
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