A Broadway musical hits the pop charts after 40 years

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Last June, The Book of Mormon, the musical written by the creators of the raunchy hit cartoon series South Park on the US cable channel Comedy Central, won nine Tony Awards and the soundtrack raced up the Billboard pop chart to third, behind Adele and Lady Gaga.

This marked the first time since 1969, when the cast recording of Hair was in first for 13 weeks, that a Broadway musical was at the top of the Billboard pop charts, Billboard's associate director of charts, Keith Caulfield, told NPR, America's National Public Radio.

In the golden era of the Broadway musical during the 1950s and ‘60s, My Fair Lady was the biggest selling record of all time, while Hello Dolly! and Funny Girl were also at the top of the Billboard pop charts.

Co-written with one of the songwriters from the hit Avenue Q, the sold-out Book of Mormon also started selling albums. One of the creators of the show and South Park, Trey Parker, says the musical "treads the line between profane and sweet."

When Amazon held a three-day promotion to download Book of Mormon album for $1.99, it sold over 150,000 copies - making it both the best-selling cast recording of the year and the most downloaded cast album ever, fueled by South Park fans.

Most soundtracks' success builds over time, with long-running shows such as Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera having sold hundreds of thousands and millions of albums.

Caulfield says copies of the the Book of Mormon album are selling at a rate of 2,000 or 3,000 per week, just behind Wicked.