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Stars reading about our stars: Sterling K. Brown, Darren Criss and others to perform 'In the Cosmos'

Stars reading about our stars: Sterling K. Brown, Darren Criss and others to perform 'In the Cosmos'
"Glee" star Darren Criss will perform as part of WordTheatre's "In the Cosmos." ((Michael Owen Baker / For The Times))

WordTheatre founder Cedering Fox traveled to Wyoming with her father and 19-year-old daughter to experience the total eclipse of the sun, a phenomenal display of astronomical majesty that occurred the same week that Fox will stage her biggest show yet, "In the Cosmos: Where we Come From, Where We Are, and Where We Are Going" at the Ford Amphitheater on Saturday.

Fourteen actors including Sterling K. Brown ("This Is Us"), Darren Criss ("Glee"), Lesley Nicol ("Downton Abbey"), Bellamy Young ("Scandal") and Stephen Tobolowsky ("Silicon Valley") will read the writing of great thinkers, philosophers, poets, explorers and scientists, including Carl Sagan, Maya Angelou, Aristotle, Isaac Newton, Jacques Cousteau and Sally Ride. The spoken word will be accompanied by orchestration by prominent film-composers Jonathan Sacks and Starr Parodi, and musical performances by Inna Faliks, Wayne Bergeron, Page Hamilton and others.

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The happy accident of timing was not lost on Fox as she talked over the phone about how the eclipse brought her to tears.

"I just keep looking up into the cosmos and saying, 'Thank You,'" she said of the script's trajectory to the stage, which she describes as "magical."

"This is a literary, musical, philosophical, scientific exploration," Fox said of the project, which came to be after months of investigation. Fox and her assistants checked out more than 100 books from libraries in New York and L.A. and ended up with more than 1,000 pages of research that Fox crafted into a script that runs almost two hours, including intermission.

The script reads like a mash-up of creation myths, poetic descriptions of all things star dust-related and penetrating thoughts about the mystery of the universe and our place in it.

"The moral is that human beings all have so much more in common than what is different," said Fox, who founded WordTheatre in 2003 and is also an accomplished voice-over actor. "It is such a privilege to be alive on this planet. We have to take care of it, and we have to take care of each other."

The actors working with WordTheatre tend to be big believers in Fox's message of love and unity, which is why they donate their time to her when she calls.

Tobolowsky, who plays Action Jack Barker in HBO's "Silicon Valley," wrote by email to say he's a "big Cedering fan." He added that he met her the day she moved to L.A., when she came to a party at his house as an aspiring actor. Since then he has watched WordTheatre become her passion.

Of her latest project, Tobolowsky wrote: "From ancient myth, to modern poetry, to the gentle wisdom of Albert Einstein, shaken and stirred by the humor of Douglas Adams, and wrapped in the beauty of the music of Bach and Ravel, 'In the Cosmos' aims to touch the heart and mind and leave the viewer with the same gift Carl Sagan brought to us: the joy of wonder."

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

‘In the Cosmos: Where We Come From, Where We Are, and Where We Are Going’

Where: John Anson Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $35 and up

Info: (323) 461-3673, FordTheatres.org or www.WordTheatre.com

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