The original Broadway cast recording of “If/Then” makes a show-stopping start on the Billboard 200 chart.
Debuting at No. 19, the set marks the highest debut for a cast album since 1996. The last cast effort to start as high was “Rent,” which also debuted (and peaked) at No. 19 on the chart dated Sept. 14, 1996 (selling 43,000).
“If/Then” sold 15,000 copies in the week ending June 8, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
“Rent” and “If/Then” have a common thread: both feature singer/actress Idina Menzel. The performer earned Tony Award nominations for both shows, for best featured actress in a musical (for “Rent”) and actress in a leading role in a musical (for “If/Then”). (Menzel won the 2004 Tony Award for best actress in a musical for “Wicked.”)
Menzel, of course, also voiced the character of “Elsa” in the Disney film “Frozen,” and took the movie’s Oscar-winning song “Let It Go” to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She made chart history as the first Tony Award winner for acting to have also notched a top 10 single. (And, the soundtrack to “Frozen” remains 2014’s top-selling album, with 2.6 million sold this year, of its 2.9 million to date.)
“If/Then” logs the largest sales week for a cast album since the week ending June 19, 2011, when “The Book of Mormon” sold 33,000 in its fifth week of release (following its Tony Award win for best musical and deep discounting at Amazon MP3). “If/Then” nets the biggest sales debut for a cast effort since “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” swam in with 20,000 at No. 26 (week ending March 2, 2008).
“Rent,” “The Book of Mormon” and “If/Then” are three of only four cast albums to reach the top 20 of the chart since 1980. The other? “Dreamgirls,” which peaked at No. 11 on the chart dated Aug. 21, 1982.