The recording of the new Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil musical (that closed on Broadway June 17) was released on Masterworks Broadway July 3. Featuring a cast headed by Stephanie J. Block, Hadley Fraser, Linda Balgord, Marcus Chait, Jeff McCarthy and William Youmans, Pirate Queen's cast album placed at No. 4.
For the last three weeks, Wicked (on Decca Broadway) and successive Best Musical Tony winners Jersey Boys (on Rhino) and Spring Awakening (also on Decca) have locked into the top three spots. Decca Broadway's Mamma Mia! rounds out the top five.
Also of note is the continued climb of Sony Classical's recording of Hairspray (at No. 7 this week, up from last week's No. 8 and the week prior's jump from No. 13 to No. 9) — which will likely spike further once the movie version of the musical is released July 20.
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 80 weeks since the chart's inception.
The release of Stephen Schwartz's Wicked has topped the chart for 73 of the 80 weeks the chart has been published. The recording has dominated the top spot, only being toppled by 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. In addition to its post Tony, four-week run at No. 1, Jersey Boys 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.