Released on April 18, the recording was no doubt bolstered by PBS' "Great Performances" April 26 broadcast of the South Pacific concert. The one-night only event of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical at the famed New York venue also featured Lillias White as Bloody Mary, Jason Danieley as Lt. Joseph Cable, Dylan Baker as Cmdr. William Harbison, Conrad John Schuck as Capt. Brackett, Alexander Gemignani as Stewpot, Tom Deckman as the Professor, Alexio Barboza as Jerome, Alex de Castro as Ngana, Renita Croney as Liat and Alec Baldwin as Luther Billis. Paul Gemignani conducted and Walter Bobbie directed.
Broadway juggernaut Wicked (on Decca Broadway) holds steady at the top the chart for its 16th week. And for a fourth consecutive week, Decca Broadway's Mamma Mia! is at No. 2 with Rhino's Jersey Boys' cast album at No. 3.
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 previous hits Hairspray, Avenue Q and Beauty and the Beast.
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.