PHOTO CALL: Emma Watson, Jessica Chastain, Jerry Seinfeld and More Celebrate Opening Night of If There Is..., With Jake Gyllenhaal
By Matthew Blank
The American premiere of Nick Payne's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, featuring Annie Funke, Michelle Gomez, Tony Award winner Brían F. O'Byrne and Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal as a drifter uncle, opens Sept. 20 following previews from Aug. 24 at Off-Broadway's Laura Pels Theatre.
Michael Longhurst (making his New York debut) directs the Roundabout Theatre Company production that marks "Brokeback Mountain" Academy Award nominee Gyllenhaal's American stage debut. This is a limited engagement of 13 weeks through Nov. 25.
The play first surfaced at the Bush Theatre in England in 2009. 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 (Funke) weight makes her a natural target for bullies. When her mom (Gomez) transfers Anna to the school where she teaches in order to protect her daughter, it only makes things worse. Anna's environmentalist dad (O'Byrne), 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 (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?"
The design team includes Beowulf Boritt (sets), Susan Hilferty (costumes), Natasha Katz (lighting) and Obadiah Eaves (original music and sound).
Gyllenhaal is best known as the film actor of "Love and Other Drugs" and "Brokeback Mountain." Funke appeared in Broadway's Hairspray and the San Francisco company of Wicked, plus Off-Broadway's Silence! The Musical. Gomez (The Taming of the Shrew for Royal Shakespeare Company, West End's Boeing-Boeing) plays Fiona, Gyllenhaal is Terry, O'Byrne (the Irish actor who won a Tony for Frozen and was nominated four other times — for The Coast of Utopia, Doubt, The Lonesome West and The Beauty Queen of Leenane) is George.
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 plays Tuesday through Saturday evening at 7:30 PM, with Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 PM.
Visit roundabouttheatre.org or call (212) 719-1300 for more information.
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