Once you are in New York City going to musicals is an opportunity that you can’t miss. Whether you are crazy about plays or not, Broadway shows give you a whole new perspective on art and creativity. It’s the kind of experience that will change you forever both culturally and personally. I have been to a few performances and I still desire to watch many more, but for now this is a list of the five best shows you must watch when you visit Manhattan.

And don’t worry if you are facing a budget squeeze, there’s always a way out. My number one tip would be checking Broadway For Broke People. Chances are you can find some inexpensive options: digital lottery, general rush or SRO (standing room only). If you feel like you’re not that lucky, try to visit TKT (avoid Times Square crowds by finding the location in South Street Port or Lincoln Center). Plus, if you’re traveling in the summer, August usually comes with a great promotion: Broadway 2 in 1. That’s right! Two tickets for the price of one. So Invite a friend to join you on this magical and cheap ride.

1. The Lion King
First few minutes in and I already had tears streaming down my face. This is The Lion King: a beautiful and emotional adaptation of the original Disney movie launched in 1994. Everything here works in perfect harmony:  songs, choreography, costumes, make-up, orchestra, production and cast. Not to mention it provides you with a lesson on creativity and life. Not convinced yet? It’s the third longest running show on Broadway. I just can’t wait to be king for you to see it too!

“I bought The Lion King ticket on the same day in one of the TKT booths in Times Square and got a seat in the orchestra, second rom from the stage, for $99 dollars. It was worth every penny!”

2. Wicked
I think I saw The Wizard of Oz film when I was a kid so when I sat dow to watch Wicked I barely remembered it. But the musical is quite the opposite: it’s unforgettable. The remarkable story about the wicked witch of the west will teach you about greed, prejudice, love and friendship. I’m such a fan that I have seen it twice – in New York and Sao Paulo. Both times made me cry. I am confident once you see it something will change within you too.

3. Phantom of the Opera
You can’t go wrong with a classic that’s why this was my first Broadway show ever.  It’s been running since 1988. That’s right: 30 years so far. The Phantom of the Opera is definitely not dead! Here you will find romance, seduction and despair. If you are having doubts about picking it, watch the movie first. In case you like it, save some time of your trip to watch Andrew Lloyd Weber’s masterpiece.

School of Rock Stage in New York

4. School of Rock
One more theater piece by the genius mind of Andrew Lloyd Weber. While the previous attracts adults, this movie adaptation will please all ages. The cast is composed of children who actually play the musicals instruments live. They rock in every way: singing, dancing and playing! Bring your friends, your family and partners.

5. Aladdin 
This Disney’s super production is impeccable. It’s magical and exciting, but above all, it is hilarious. If you want a show that all your family will enjoy, including the little ones, Aladdin is the one you’re looking for. In inspite of being very funny and rich in details, I do believe they focus more on the visual effects than on the songs and story itself.