Jake Gyllenhaal Will Make U.S. Stage Debut as a Foul-Mouthed Uncle in Off-Broadway's If There Is…

By Kenneth Jones
19 Apr 2012

Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal
Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, the film actor known for such pictures as "Love and Other Drugs" and "Brokeback Mountain," will make his American stage debut starting in late summer in the American premiere of Nick Payne's comic drama If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet at Roundabout Theatre Company's Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theatre.

Michael Longhurst will direct an ensemble cast including Gyllenhaal. Three additional actors and the design team will be announced shortly. The play first surfaced at the Bush Theatre in England in 2009.

Performances begin Aug. 24 prior to an official opening Sept. 20. This is a limited engagement of 13 weeks through Nov. 25.

On April 19, Roundabout's artistic director Todd Haimes announced If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet and Joshua Elias Harmon's Bad Jews (for the Roundabout Underground space) as additions to the 2012-13 season. The Pels and Underground are both within the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre at 111 W. 46th Street.



Gyllenhaal made his stage debut starring in Kenneth Lonergan's revival of This is Our Youth, on London's West End. For his performance he won an Evening Standard Theater Award for Outstanding Newcomer. (His sister, Maggie, has been applauded for performances in Off-Broadway's The Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya, both for Classic Stage Company).

Here's how the new work is billed by the nonprofit Roundabout: "Provocative, insightful and laced with fresh humor, If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet is an entertaining look at a regular family stuck somewhere between knowing what the problem is... and doing something about it. Fifteen-year-old Anna's weight makes her a natural target for bullies. When her mom transfers Anna to the school where she teaches in order to protect her daughter, it only makes things worse. Anna's environmentalist dad, determined to finish his new book and save the planet, is no help at all. Just as Anna gets suspended for retaliating with a head-butt, her estranged uncle Terry (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrives unannounced. A heartbroken drifter with the mouth of a sailor, Terry reaches out to Anna in a way that no one ever has. Their unexpected friendship sends her parents' rocky marriage into a tailspin as the whole family wonders, what — or who — really needs saving?"

"Nick Payne is an exciting young voice in the British Theatre, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to introduce him to American audiences," Haimes said in a statement. "I was first familiar with Nick through his play Constellations, a brilliant piece directed by Michael Longhurst that just completed an acclaimed run at the Royal Court. When I read If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, I knew that not only did Nick have great range as a playwright, but that this was a perfect fit for the Laura Pels Theatre."

He continued, "Jake Gyllenhaal loves this play and the role of Terry, and I couldn't be happier that he has chosen to make his American stage debut with us. The Steinberg Center has been an Off-Broadway haven for new plays and playwrights from Lynn Nottage to Patrick Marber to Stephen Karam. I think Nick Payne will prove to fit quite well in that line and I am equally excited that this will be Michael Longhurst's New York directorial debut."

Gyllenhaal was Academy Award-nominated and won BAFTA and National Board of Review awards for his performance as Jack Twist in Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain." His film credits also include "Source Code," "Love and Other Drugs" (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination), the coming "End of Watch," "Donnie Darko," "Brothers," "Zodiac," "Jarhead," "Proof," "The Good Girl," "Moonlight Mile," "Lovely and Amazing," "October Sky."

Payne's plays include If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet (Bush Theatre, 2009), Wanderlust (Royal Court Theatre, 2010), Sophocles' Electra (Gate Theatre, 2011), One Day When We Were Young (Paines Plough/Sheffield Theatres, 2011), Constellations (Royal Court Theatre, 2012), Lay Down Your Cross (Hampstead Theatre, 2012). He is the winner of the 2009 George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright.

If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet will play Tuesday through Saturday evening at 7:30 PM, with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 PM.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public this summer. Donors and subscribers get early and prime access to tickets. Visit roundabouttheatre.org or call (212) 719-1300 for more information. Donors may call (212) 719-9393 ext. 301.