New York opens the doors this Wednesday of the Broadway Museum, the first to deal extensively and exclusively with the history of musical theater. It does so in the most theatrical neighborhood of the Big Apple, where hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists come every day to enjoy their favorite works.

The offer is usually wide, so it is not always easy to opt for one or the other. For this reason, the journalist Joan Francesc Cánovas has made a compilation of the essentials in his book 100 more musicals you should see (Amat editorial).

There are several musicals that could lead this ranking, but if anyone deserves this position in 2022 that is none other than The Lion King. And it is that this year the work celebrates 25 years on the bill, which makes it the third longest-running musical in the history of the New York industry. Based on the 1994 Disney animated film, one of the main attractions of the work, beyond Simba’s story, are the animal costumes, as well as the masks and giant puppets.

From Disney we cannot forget Aladdin either. Since its premiere on Broadway, in 2014, and later in the West End, in 2016, it has been one of the most successful musical productions in the 21st century.

It is considered one of the most important musicals of all time “and one of the first megamusicals that were conceived as a global product”, in the words of Joan Francesc Cánovas. Despite the fact that its initial production was in London, it is worth noting the eighteen years that it ran on Broadway, where a total of 7,485 performances were performed, to which are added some sporadic revivals. Created from a collection of poems by T.S. Eliot, the plot revolves around the tribe of Jelic cats during the night they make “the Jelic choice” and decide which of them will be reborn into a new existence.

Based on Victor Hugo’s novel, the musical opened on Broadway in 1987 and ran uninterrupted until 2003, although after this date it has been revived several times. Although it has been represented in more than forty-four countries, it can be said that the New York and London productions are the most spectacular in terms of deployment, since a total of 120 people are part of the cast, including actors, musicians and technicians. The plot centers on the ex-convict Jean Valjean, persecuted for decades by the agent Javert. When Valjean decides to take care of Cosette, Fantine’s little daughter, their lives will change forever.

A classic among classics. Set at the beginning of the 20th century, the work focuses on the story of Christian, a young composer who falls in love with Satine, one of the main actresses of the Parisian cabaret Moulin Rouge. The young woman, who is brought to life by a splendid Nicole Kidman in the cinema, believes that she is conquering a duke who will boost her career. The problem will come when she realizes that Christian is actually a bohemian. But by then, Satine will have fallen in love and she must choose what she really wants to do with her life.

The adventures of Marty McFly and his eccentric friend Doc Brown could not be missing from this list. And it is that, if there is something in which the majority of spectators agree, it is that a time machine in the shape of a car, the mythical DeLorean, is striking both in the cinema and in the theater. Based on the Robert Zemeckis film, it is one of the works with the most visual effects in the history of musicals. For that alone, it is worth seeing.

The Wizard of Oz seen from the perspective of the witches long before the arrival of Dorothy Gale. This is the pretext for this successful play that premiered in 2003 in San Francisco, California, and became one of the most popular on both Broadway and the West End.

It premiered on October 12, 1971 at the Mark Hellinger Theater in New York, becoming one of the most controversial works in the history of musicals due to its free approach to the life of Jesus. In addition to receiving harsh criticism from religious groups, it earned them a ban in some countries such as South Africa or Hungary. Despite all the initial commotion, the play became one of the essentials on Broadway and an icon of the hippy era for its vision of the world and religion.

This list could not end without West Side Story, a work that resonated especially last year after Steven Spielberg took it to the movies and was nominated for several Oscars. It’s a modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but set in 1950s New York with rival street gangs in between, the Jets and the Sharks.