Emily Arnold McCully's book The Orphan Singer has won many fans. It tells the story of a virtuoso Venetian child musician who's left by her poverty-stricken family at an ospedalo, a choral school for orphans, so that she can receive the education that they can't afford. Now, the organization Making Books Sing has adapted the work as a touring stage production featuring the music of Vivaldi, a libretto by Barbara Zinn Krieger, and musical arrangements by Rick Errickson. It stops at Lehman College in the Bronx (January 26-28), Q-PAC in Queens (February 4), Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn (February 6-10), and Symphony Space in Manhattan (February 12).
Christmas may be over, but religious education can continue all year. The musical The Rock and The Rabbi at Lamb's Theatre (January 21-23) is a contemporary treatment of the Biblical tale of Peter the fisherman and Jesus of Nazareth. Or if you're looking for something more secular, TADA! Youth Theater brings us The Gift of Winter (January 20-February 20), a musical about the origins of the snowy season, based on the book of the same name by John Leach and Jean Rankin.
One of the more off-beat kid-friendly tuners in awhile may be Welcome to Tourettaville!, co-written by June Rachelson-Ospa and her seven-year-old son Jonny Ospa. In it, a young boy enters a dreamworld where four aliens befriend and inspire him toward self-acceptance. The show plays January 7-15 at Theatre 5 as part of Neurofest, the first-ever theater festival dedicated to neurological conditions.
While not recommended for kids under 11, The Stones is a thought-provoking piece presented by The New Victory at The Duke on 42nd Street (January 6-22). It shows how a harmless game transforms from prank to crime when two teenagers kick a rock off a freeway overpass resulting in a fatal car crash.
Out in Brooklyn, Youthworks is an opportunity for young people ages 7-18 to imagine, create, and perform their original plays, dances, and performance art. The culmination of months of work can be seen at BAX (January 27-29). Tap Kids at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts (January 22) is another opportunity to see youthful performers, as an extraordinary group of nine young tap dancers celebrate the energy of American youth culture.
Music lovers will enjoy Peter and the Wolf (January 7 & 8), a Little Orchestra Society "Lolli-pop concert" that presents Sergei Prokofiev's timeless classic with a kid-friendly twist by Bang, Bow, Buzz and Toot. Polygraph Lounge, a virtuosic duo specializing in musical hilarity/anarchy, comes to Symphony Space for an all-ages show that cranks up the tomfoolery to a whole new level (January 28). And, Alicia Svigals -- considered by many to be the world's foremost klezmer fiddler -- presents a Family Klezmer concert at Park Avenue Synagogue (January 29).
Meanwhile, many old favorites are playing on Long Island: Winnie the Pooh at the Studio Theater (January 7-February 4); Rappin' With Mother Goose (January 14-21) at the Airport Playhouse; and Jack and Jill: Special Rhymes Unit (January 20-February 4) at Theatre Three.