Gyllenhaal (Uncle Vanya, "Secretary," "Crazy Heart," "The Dark Knight") will step into the role of Marie Curie, which was to be played by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, who has bowed out due to last-minute scheduling conflicts.
Gyllenhaall will join Amy Adams, Bill Camp, Allison Janney, David Morse and Liev Schreiber. Bob Balaban will direct the 7:30 PM gala reading of Alda's play. 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of Curie's Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The "visually enhanced" production "soars with flights of intellectual adventure grounded in the tumultuous and all too human story of a brilliant woman's determination to experience the passion she has both for knowledge and for love," according to the World Science Festival.
Alda ("M*A*S*H*") is making his playwriting debut with Radiance and told the New York Times that the work will explore Curie's life between winning her first Nobel for Physics in 1903 and her second for Chemistry in 1911.
The play was previously developed under the direction of Daniel Sullivan at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in winter 2010. Alda told the New York Times there was a possibility for a full production of Radiance this fall in Los Angeles.
For tickets visit worldsciencefestival.com/gala.