Billboard 200 Chart Moves: Idina Menzel & Kristin Chenoweth's 'Wicked' Reunion in the Top 40

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Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth

On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart (dated Oct. 15), Shawn Mendes notched his second No. 1 as his new effort Illuminate bowed in the top slot. The set earned 145,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Sept. 29, according to Nielsen Music (of which, 121,000 were in traditional album sales).

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week’s most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).

Let’s take a closer look at some of the action on the chart:

Idina Menzel, Idina & Kristin Chenoweth, The Art of Elegance – Nos. 29 & 36 – The original stars of the Broadway musical Wicked have reunited — in the top 40 of the Billboard 200 chart.

Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth — who played Elphaba and Glinda, respectively, in Wicked when it premiered on Broadway in 2003 — arrive concurrently in the top 40 of the new Billboard 200 with their latest albums.

Menzel’s simply titled Idina bows at No. 29 with 15,000 units (14,000 in traditional sales) and Chenoweth’s The Art of Elegance starts at No. 36 with 13,000 units (12,000 in traditional album sales – her best debut sales week ever).

The Art of Elegance is Chenoweth’s fourth entry on the chart, her first top 40-charting set, and her highest charting effort yet. Menzel’s new album is her fourth charting release as well. The Tony Award winner has one further top 40 set: the 2014 Christmas album Holiday Wishes, which peaked at No. 6.

For Chenoweth, her new album also expands her resume of chart achievements, as the album also debuts at No. 1 on both the Traditional Jazz Albums and overall Jazz Albums charts. It’s her first entrance on either list.

The Tony and Emmy Award winner has previously visited the Top Country Albums chart (Some Lessons Learned, No. 14 in 2001), the Holiday Albums list (A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas, No. 7 in 2008) and the Top Christian Albums chart (As I Am, No. 31 in 2005).

My Chemical Romance, The Black Parade – No. 14 — A 10th anniversary reissue of My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade aids the set’s 339 percent lift (to 21,000 units). The album was repackaged with a bonus disc of material, dubbed Living With Ghosts, that features previously unreleased demo tracks and live recordings.

The Black Parade is the band’s highest charting album, having debuted and peaked at No. 2 in 2006. The group visited the top 10 two other times, with 2010’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (No. 8) and May Death Never Stop You: The Greatest Hits 2001-2013 (No. 9).

Maxwell, blackSUMMERS’night – No. 19 — Maxwell’s blackSUMMERS’night reenters the chart at No. 19 with a 498 percent unit gain (to 16,000 in the week ending Sept. 29, according to Nielsen Music) thanks to sales of the album offered with tickets to his concert tour. The album earned a 583 percent sales gain, rising to 16,000 sold for the week. A similar promotion aids Red Hot Chili PeppersThe Getaway at No. 29 (up 188 percent to 15,000).

Kansas, The Prelude Implicit – No. 41 — The rock band’s first studio album in 16 years marks the group’s highest rank on the tally since 1987, when Power peaked at No. 35. The group’s highest-charting album is 1978’s No. 4-peaking Point of Know Return.

Joe Bonamassa, Live at the Greek Theatre – No. 48 — The blues guitarist and singer not only claims his 16th entry on the Billboard 200 with his latest live album (10,000 units earned), the new set also enters at No. 1 on the Blues Albums chart. That continues his hot streak on the list, as he notches a record-extending 17th No. 1. In second place with the most leaders on the Blues Albums chart: B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, each with nine No. 1s.

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine – No. 141 — Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam team up for their first collaborative effort, as I Had a Dream That You Were Mine starts at No. 141 with 4,000 units earned. It also launches at No. 1 on the Heatseekers Albums chart and No. 9 on the Alternative Albums chart.

This is the first charting effort on the Billboard 200 for either act as a solo artist.

However, both artists have had great success as part of other bands, as Leithauser was the front man for The Walkmen, which notched three entries on Heatseekers and a pair of top 40 sets on the Billboard 200. For multi-instrumentalism and producer Rostam, his band Vampire Weekend notched two No. 1s on the Billboard 200 -- most recently in 2013 with Modern Vampires of the City. (Another side project of Rostam’s, Discovery, hit No. 89 in 2009 with LP.)

Leithauser and Rostam started writing and recording the new album back in 2014. Rostam had long been a fan of Leithauser, and had wanted to make an album with him for a decade. In August, Rostam told KCRW in Los Angeles that it’s “dream project” that is “really near and dear to me.”

The pair supported the new album with a performance on CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert (Sept. 12). The album’s song “In a Blackout” also soundtracks a commercial for Apple’s new iPhone 7, titled “Midnight.”


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