On the Boards: South Pacific Floats Up on Billboard Top Cast Album Chart

News   On the Boards: South Pacific Floats Up on Billboard Top Cast Album Chart 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 climbed to No. 4 on Billboard's Top Cast Album chart.

Released on April 18, the recording (bolstered by PBS' "Great Performances" April 26 broadcast) of the South Pacific concert debuted at No. 6 on May 4. The one night only event of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical at the famed New York venue also featured Lillias White, Jason Danieley, Dylan Baker, Alexander Gemignani and Alec Baldwin. Paul Gemignani conducted and Walter Bobbie directed.

Broadway juggernaut Wicked (on Decca Broadway) holds steady at the top the chart for its 18th week. And for a fifth consecutive week, Decca Broadway's Mamma Mia! is at No. 2 with Rhino's Jersey Boys' cast album at No. 3. This season's The Color Purple (Angel Records) rounds out the top five.

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.