The Decca Broadway release of the Stephen Schwartz musical had dominated the No. 1 spot on the chart for 19 weeks until the Columbia Records release two-disc recording (comprised of the original cast recording of Broadway's The Pajama Game revival and selections of Connick, Jr.'s 2001 Broadway show Thou Shalt Not) debuted at the top position.
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.
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.