Stage Door News

New York: Astrid Van Wieren and Rob Kempson star in “The Way Back to Thursday” at 54 Below September 12

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Astrid Van Wieren (Come From Away) and Rob Kempson (Composer & Lyricist) will star in the New York premiere of new musical The Way Back to Thursday on September 12, 2023 at 9:30PM, at 54 Below.

A two-person song cycle, The Way Back To Thursday chronicles the 30-year relationship between a grandmother (Van Wieren) and her grandson (Kempson) as they negotiate issues of sexuality, aging, family relationships, and ultimately, love. Cameron (the grandson) wants to keep his special relationship with Grandma as a time capsule—an unchanging part of his identity, reflective of only their past—but as time passes, their connection begins to shift.

More than anything, The Way Back To Thursday is a musical about unconditional love that crosses generations, genders and lifetimes.

Following its premiere in January 2014, the piece was nominated for OUTSTANDING NEW MUSICAL at the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. It was then presented at the 2015 In Tune Festival (Touchstone Theatre/Arts Club) in Vancouver.

The one-night-only event at 54 Below is music directed by Eric Fotre Leach (Come From Away) and produced by Ben Nissen (Fran Spot Productions).

The Way Back to Thursday with Van Wieren and Kempson plays at 54 Below (254 West 54th Street) on Tuesday, September 12th, 2023 for one performance only - at 9:30PM. Cover charges are $30-$40 ($34.50-$45.50 with fees). Premiums are $50-$65 ($56.50-$73 with fees). There is a $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00pm are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.


Astrid Van Wieren was part of the original Come From Away company from its first full production at La Jolla Playhouse to its final performance on Broadway. She was nominated for both a Helen Hayes Award (Washington, DC) and a Dora Award (Toronto) for her work as Beulah & Others. Other premiere credits include Belles Soeurs: The Musical (Segal/Montreal & National Arts Centre/Ottawa); BAAL-Rock ‘n’ Roll Play (Mercury,Toronto) and The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (Artistic Fraud/St. John’s). Her stellar performance in the drama This Wide Night earned her a Dora Award for outstanding performance in a leading role. Astrid was honoured to host the Dora Awards in 2018. Film credits include starring in the award-winning indie feature The River You Step iN. Upcoming; Astrid is in development with director Jon Michaelson, working on songs for After/BAAL by Rose Cullis. Currently, Astrid is in Gander, Newfoundland as Diane & Others in an all-new production of Come From Away.


Rob Kempson is a director, writer, composer and educator. He is the Artistic Director at the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope, ON, about an hour east of Toronto. He has served in various artistic leadership positions, including as Associate Artistic Director at the Thousand Islands Playhouse (Gananoque, ON) and as Associate Artistic Producer at Theatre Passe Muraille (Toronto, ON). In addition to his work at the Capitol, he is the Co-Artistic Producer of ARC (with Deborah Drakeford), an ensemble-based company dedicated to producing international work. Rob was also the founding Artistic Director of timeshare performance, a multi-award-winning Toronto-based collective, and has worked across Canada as a freelance director and playwright.

Selected Writer/Director: Trigonometry (timeshare/Factory); Mockingbird (Next Stage Theatre Festival); SHANNON 10:40 (timeshare/Videofag); explicit (Rhubarb Festival); #legacy (Harbourfront Centre); The HV Project (Community). Selected Director: 9 to 5: The Musical, Sleeping Beauty, A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline (Capitol Theatre); Box 4901 (timeshare/Buddies); The Places We Are (Theatre Erindale); The Snow Queen (Canadian Children’s Opera Company); Electric Messiah (Soundstreams), The Little Mermaid (St. Lawrence College); The Ballad of Stompin’ Tom (Sudbury Theatre Centre); The Canadian, Maggie and Pierre, Million Dollar Quartet, Daisy Amazed Me, Violet’s the Pilot, Rose’s Clothes (Thousand Islands Playhouse); Robert (co-directed with Briana Brown, Toronto Fringe); Songs for a New World (Claude Watson). Writer/Composer/Performer: The Way Back To Thursday (Theatre Passe Muraille/Touchstone Theatre – Dora Nomination: Outstanding New Musical).

He has been a member of the Stratford Festival Playwrights’ Retreat, the Storefront Theatre Playwrights’ Unit, and has been a Resident Artist Educator at Young People’s Theatre and the RBC Intern Director for The Musical Stage Co. Rob was also one of the Neil Munro Directors at the Shaw Festival in 2021. More info at or on Twitter at @rob_kempson.

Photo: Astrid Van Wieren and Rob Kempson. © Michael Cooper.