First things first: Your child has to learn good hygiene to become a productive member of society. Teach the brat what happened to Harry the Dirty Dog. Written by Gene Zion, this comedy tells the story of a white dog with black spots that becomes unrecognizable to his family after a few romps down a coal chute tarnish his fur. The show, which plays at Manhattan Children's Theatre from January 2 to February 13, will have your kids running for a bath in no time.
Now, your child should be ready for an archeological expedition of epic proportions. Jim West's Dinosaurs!, which moves into the Auditorium at Equitable on January 16, takes the audience onto a musical adventure led by a detective named Fossil. On the journey, your children will see puppets of the prehistoric creatures, and listen to the timeless scores of Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev. Your children can also marvel at The Gizmo Guys, who will take their unique and comic juggling routine to the same theater on January 9.
The monkeying around will continue at Abron's Arts Center on January 16 when Chinese Theatre Works presents Monkey King in America: Day Jobs, Opera Dreams. This contemporary retelling of the Chinese immigrant story fuses the Peking Opera form with shadow performance. If all that travel makes you hungry, go for a serving of Queen Nur's Sweet Potato Pie and Such. The show offers a dollop of African-American storytelling with a dash of song and dance topped off with a score by traditional African instruments. This one-day event plays on January 30. (Just don't let it get in the way of those promises to keep trim.)
King Kunka Bunka & His Rotten Royal Rascals, which opens at the Baha'i Center Theater on January 8, tells the story of a magnanimous king whose patience is worn thin by some upstart children that want to take over his throne. Out of fear that they won't be able to govern the land, he bans the rascals out of his castle, where they learn a newfound secret of happiness. Mehr Mansuri has written and directed the piece, which features music from Barney composer Lory Lazarus.
TheatreworksUSA will present the world premiere of Corduroy, a musical based on Don Freemen's renowned children's book about a lonely stuffed animal and the little girl that brings it home. After all the shoppers have gone home, one teddy bear walks through the aisles in search of adventure. Eventually, a shopkeeper discovers him, and places the doll in a fortuitous spot where the child eventually buys him. You can find him at the Auditorium at Equitable, located at 787 Seventh Avenue, on January 22 and 23. Animal lovers should also take note of Rabbit Sense, a new musical starring 30 New York City kids playing from January 21 to February 21. In the educational spirit, there will be audience participation workshops following certain performances.