The Lion King and Mary Poppins Climb Billboard Chart; Wicked Tops

News   The Lion King and Mary Poppins Climb Billboard Chart; Wicked Tops The top four slots of the Billboard Cast Albums chart remain almost the same from last week with chart-toppers led by Wicked. The Lion King and Mary Poppins provide movement on the countdown.

Decca Broadway's Wicked — which has remained atop the chart steadily since the debut of the chart in January 2006 — holds its top spot after being toppled two weeks ago by the debut of Ghostlight Records' Legally Blonde. The latter slides down to No. 3 as Rhino's Jersey Boys heads back to No. 2.

Sony Classical's Hairspray original Broadway cast album — which has seen a gradual rise over the past weeks (with the new movie version now in theatres) — holds steadily at the No. 4 slot.

The Lion King rounds out the top five with a 7-spot jump from last week at No. 12. With its Walt Disney label counterpart, Mary Poppins (which also enjoys a jump from No. 14 to No. 8), they cause Spring Awakening, Mamma Mia! (both on Decca Broadway) and Angel's The Color Purple to slide.

Along with Wicked and Mamma Mia!, the cast recordings of Monty Python's Spamalot and Avenue Q have remained on Billboard's Top Cast Album Chart for the full 84 weeks since the chart's inception.

Legally Blonde joined the company of those that have unseated the release of Stephen Schwartz's Wicked — which has topped the chart for 76 of the 84 weeks the chart has been published. The only other recordings to topple the stronghold are Spring Awakening, 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 enjoyed a four-week run at No. 1 following its Tony win and also reclaimed the top spot the week of Feb. 8. *

Billboard added the Top Cast Albums chart to its listings Jan. 12, 2006. 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. The Schwartz musical — which opened on Broadway in October 2003 (album released Dec. 16, 2003) — appeared at the top of the first chart.

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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