The Roundabout Theater Company has set Jake Gyllenhaal to make his American stage debut in the ensemble cast of If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet, a comic drama by Nick Payne that will start previews August 24 and open September 20 at the Laura Pels Theatre on West 46th Street. Gyllenhaal made his stage debut on London’s West End in Kenneth Longergan’s revival of This Is Our Youth.
The play focuses on 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?
Said Roundabout artistic director Todd Haimes: “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. 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. 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.”