By Lynn Monty, Editor in Chief
Exploring The Music Man at Charlotte Central School with Nick Caycedo
Nick Caycedo, a Burlington-based director and choreographer born and raised in Vermont, is this spring’s Charlotte Central School musical drama director. He currently works as a teaching artist for Very Merry Theatre, as well as a professional actor and music director who starred in Blackberry Winter at the Flynn Space last month.
Charlotte Central School students will perform the Broadway hit The Music Man on May 11 through 13. The plot concerns a con man, Harold, who poses as a band organizer and sells instruments to naive townsfolk. It turns out that he is no musician and plans to skip town without giving any music lessons. Marian the librarian sees through Harold’s scheme but also begins to fall in love with him.
The Music Man was chosen because Caycedo said it is one of the best musicals ever written for the stage. “It’s immaculate in its structure, style and score,” he said. “I remember seeing it for the first time in the Susan Stroman Broadway revival back in 2000. I couldn’t believe how fresh a show written nearly 50 years before that felt to me.”
Right from the opening drum lick this musical had an infectious rhythm unlike any Caycedo had ever heard. “It had the motion of a marching band and the emotion of an unexpected Hallmark card,” he said. “I wanted the young people of the Charlotte Central School community to experience this timeless masterpiece firsthand.”
Caycedo has performed in New York City at La Mama ETC, The Flea Theatre, and Theatre Row and has also appeared locally at St. Mike’s Playhouse, Skinner Barn, Lyric Theatre and the Stowe Theatre Guild. He started acting at a very young age on a stage similar to the one at Charlotte Central School, he said. “It was love at first spotlight. Over the years, this love has deepened and evolved in ways I never imaged in my youth.”
Young people are rich with imagination, dynamism, and energy, Caycedo said. “My job as a director is to create an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration — one in which we are all free to fail big in order to find the best way of telling our story. Part of this approach includes treating these middle schoolers with the respect I would any professional actor.”
Through his study of music theatre at Walnut Hill School, Circle in the Square, and Ithaca College, and his experience as a professional actor and director, he said, “I have come to think of theater as a second language. I have found young people to be the best teachers of this language.”