The new Broadway cast album of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical — featuring Raúl Esparza, Barbara Walsh and the actor-musicians in the new John Doyle staging — arrived in stores Feb. 20 in a collaboration between the two labels.
Decca Broadway's Wicked hits its 55th week in the No. 1 position on the Billboard Top Cast Album chart. Rhino's Jersey Boys is followed by Spring Awakening and Mamma Mia! (both on Decca Broadway), which switch places from last week to round out the top five.
Along with Wicked and Mamma Mia!, the cast recordings of Monty Python's Spamalot and Avenue Q (which slides to No. 14) have remained on Billboard's Top Cast Album Chart for the full 61 weeks since the chart's inception.
The release of Stephen Schwartz's Wicked has topped the chart for 55 of the 61 weeks the chart has been published. The recording has dominated the spot, only being toppled by the Columbia Records two-disc "Harry On Broadway" release (with Broadway's The Pajama Game revival and selections of Connick, Jr.'s Thou Shalt Not) and The Color Purple for one week each. Jersey Boys also had a four-week run at No. 1 following its big Tony win and reclaimed the top spot for the week of Feb. 8. *
Billboard added the Top Cast Albums chart to its listings 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.