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  • Writer's pictureSam Stoll

Grand Hotel in the Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival at the Merry Go Round Playhouse

Being back to Auburn and the Finger Lakes Musical Theater Festival for Grand Hotel

is wonderful. I have found many homes in my various jobs and travels, but this one is very special to me. Everyone here at Merry Go Round Playhouse makes you feel heard, valued, and loved. Its an incredible place to work and create. I am so grateful to tell Erik's story and the Grand Hotel story as a whole. There is so much resistance and struggle in Grand Hotel, but finding the joy that can bleed through is very special to me. I savor this show and this cast. Storytelling with this family every night led by Brett's brilliant directorial mind is something I cherish every night.

This past year has been a wonderful time of growth and self love. As most artists do, especially us actors during audition season, I struggled with grounding myself. Sometimes you feel as though everything in your path pushes back and makes you question why we do what we do. With resistance we have a chance to push through while everything is getting stripped away to find our core self. We have an opportunity to look at ourselves in our vulnerable state and see our truest form. I find fear in seeing that version of myself every time. But sometimes we find the most growth when we shed our old selves and reconnect with our core, with our Inner Child as Julia Cameron would say.

What always amazes me and never ceases to surprise me is that when I push through and see that stripped away me, I love him. He is the little kid who's heart leapt watching the stage come alive during the opening of The Lion King. It's the same boy who would've never imagined the amazing work I get to do each day, and the same young soul that found joy in every moment. I am still that kid with an eager soul, crazy dreams, and a heart filled with wonder for this gorgeous life we get to live. Letting him shine through can be difficult in an age of profiles and facades, but when he does, I am almost always in a state of bliss. Every day, every contract, every audition, every moment is a chance to soak it all in. I have many challenges ahead I am sure, but for right now I am grateful for growth and so grateful to be telling Erik's story and the story of Grand Hotel at this place I call home.

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