At the top of Broadway’s Tony-winning Bandstand, Donny Novitski and his Donny Nova bandmates tell the world that nothing is going to stop them from getting to New York to compete on the bandstand in the finals of a national radio contest.
“We all know what it’s like to fight,” says Bandstand’s director and Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler. “I know what it’s like as a person to be pushed down or to say that’s not good enough … [but here] I’m standing up for myself and saying ‘No one’s gonna tell me no.’”
Of course, Blankenbuehler’s winning moves to the Act 2 opener “Nobody” are only as strong as the music and lyrics driving them. “The ‘angry’ sound comes mostly from the lyric,” explains book writer and lyricist Rob Taylor. “You can’t help singing it in a defiant way”—which is why the duo wrote the lyrics to this song before the melody. “But also, the twisty, surprise chords that deviate from classic blues structure add a lot of vinegar and spice to what could just be a straight-ahead bop,” adds writer-composer-lyricist Richard Oberacker. The arrangement by Drama Desk-winning orchestrator Greg Anthony Rassen also gives the song an extra punch.
Oberacker and Taylor say “Nobody” was written into the very first draft of the script—always at the top of Act 2. In the video above, the two reveal secrets behind the magical staging (how do they slide that drum across the floor night after night?), the talents of their cast (which cast member actually plays 12 instruments?), the impressive design (how many lighting cues are in this number?), and their own musical take on a classic boogie-woogie jam.
Want to learn the choreography to the dance break in “Nobody”? Watch the video below!