Wicked reached its 20th week (of the 22 weeks the chart has been published) at No. 1 on June 1. The Decca Broadway release of the Stephen Schwartz musical had dominated the spot for most the chart's history when the Columbia Records two-disc "Harry" recording (comprised of Broadway's current The Pajama Game revival and selections of 2001's Thou Shalt Not) debuted at the top position May 18. (Wicked had only been toppled once before, by Angel Records' The Color Purple.)
Decca Broadway's Mamma Mia! and Rhino's Jersey Boys cast album remain at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. This season's The Color Purple rounds out the top five. Beauty and the Beast re-enters the chart at No. 15.
The new Decca Broadway release of the acclaimed Carnegie Hall concert of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's South Pacific starring Reba McEntire and Brian Stokes Mitchell placed along with current long-running shows Rent (both the cast albums and "Highlights" CDs) and The Phantom of the Opera highlights. This season's Sweeney Todd also charted along with last season's Monty Python's Spamalot (on Decca Broadway) and previous hits Hairspray, Avenue Q and Beauty and the Beast.
A recent addition to Billboard's listings, the Top Cast Albums chart debuted in Billboard on Jan. 12, 2006. Stephen Schwartz' Wicked — which opened on Broadway in October 2003 (album released Dec. 16, 2003) — appeared at the top of the first chart. The chart measures sales of albums from stage musicals, Broadway recordings mostly fill the 15-slot table, but cast albums from other locales are also eligible. The addition of the chart to Billboard's 112 charts generates exposure for the genre which does not often chart on the Billboard 200. Billboard can be found on the web at www.billboard.com. Full charts are available by subscription at www.billboard.biz.