Jesse MacLean in Inch by Inch
(© Margo E. Gesser)
Jesse MacLean in Inch by Inch
(© Margo E. Gesser)
It's not too late to make a New Year's resolution to take your children to the many cultural offerings that New York City has to offer.

Start out the year by taking in Rodgers & Hammerstein's classic musical The King and I (January 7), in a special version aimed for elementary school students. This one-time event at Merkin Concert Hall includes sing-alongs, games, and other opportunities for audience participation.

The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is performing three children's books by Leo Lionni -- Swimmy, Frederick, and Inch by Inch -- on January 20 at Symphony Space. Swimmy is the tale of a little fish that survives a tuna attack and camouflages himself and his friends so that they can live in safety; Frederick follows a poetic mouse who daydreams the summer away rather than hoard food for the winter; and Inch by Inch tells the story of a worm that measures his predators for protection. The Canadian company trades in inventive techniques like blacklight imagery and "Animotion" puppetry.

This month, TADA! adapts two stories from children's author Ezra Jack Keats, Maggie and the Pirate and Apt. 3 (January 12-February 11). The first story is about a young girl whose pet cricket is stolen, and what happens when she follows the thief. Apt. 3 follows Jack, a city dweller who likes to follow the source of the sounds that he hears through his window, and discovers a new friend and harmonica player. These musicals come to life with book and lyrics by Tony Award winner Winnie Holzman (Wicked) and music by David Evans.

Manhattan Children's Theatre introduces you to Three Little Pigs (January 6-February 25), but they're not the ones you think you know. These svelte swine named Pat, Patterson, and Patty are the skinniest pigs you've ever seen, but the big, bad wolf has become health-conscious. He still wants to eat them! With book and lyrics by Sarah Norris and Kyle C. Norris, this musical comedy tells the familiar story as it has never been heard before -- in song. Later in the month, the theater moves on to the second installment of its "Little Tales" series, Russian Tales (January 16-February 22), featuring folklore told through puppetry, live action, and audience participation.

The York Theatre Company revives its production of Paul Armento's popular The People Garden (January 6-February 17) in repertory with the composer's new work, The New Kid (January 13-February 24), in which Zack enters a new school and sets out to confront the bullies, disband the cliques, and get rid of unnecessary peer pressure.

Have you heard of "Pinkitis"? It is a disease that afflicts little girls that ignore their parents' warnings and eat too many pink cupcakes. Find out what happens to one of the victims of this epidemic in Pinkalicious, the Vital Theatre Company's musical playing at the McGinn Cazale Theatre (January 13-February 25). There will also be some special "workshop" performances involving an array of pink post-performance activities.

For family entertainment in English and Español, turn to Teatro SEA at Los Kabayitos Puppet and Children's Theatre, which has two offerings this month. Los Tres Cerditos/The Three Little Pigs involves a vegetarian wolf, a happy ending, and salsa music (January 13-20), while La Muela del Rey Farfan/The Toothache of King Farfan (January 27-February 17) is a Spanish operetta about a king who learns to love and respect others... the hard way!

Staten Island's St. George Theatre presents two all-time favorites: Cinderella (January 12) and Cats (January 25). And out in Long Island, the BayWay Arts Center hosts Peter Pan & Wendy (January 6-February 3), while BroadHollow Theatre Company takes a bite of the apple with Snow White (January 13-February 3).