On the Boards: Connick, Jr.'s Pajama Game/ Thou Shalt Not Topples Wicked on Billboard Chart

News   On the Boards: Connick, Jr.'s Pajama Game/ Thou Shalt Not Topples Wicked on Billboard Chart The new Columbia Records release of "Harry On Broadway Act 1" which features the singer-songwriter's current star turn in The Pajama Game and score selections from his Thou Shalt Not debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Cast Album chart.

Released on May 9, the two-disc recording is comprised of the original cast recording Broadway's The Pajama Game revival on the first disc. The second disc includes selections of new recordings from Connick, Jr.'s 2001 Broadway show Thou Shalt Not with his Pajama Game co-star Kelli O'Hara singing.

Perhaps more noteworthy is, for the first time in 19 weeks on Billboard's Top Cast Albums chart, Broadway juggernaut Wicked (on Decca Broadway) falls to No. 2. Decca Broadway's Mamma Mia! and Rhino's Jersey Boys' cast album also slide down one spot each to No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. This season's The Color Purple (Angel Records) rounds out the top five.

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 and The Phantom of the Opera (both make the list twice — for their respective cast albums and "Highlights" CDs). 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.

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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.

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