Descendant of Charles Dickens to Appear in Black Sheep Players’ Holiday Show

SHARON, Pa. – Black Sheep Players’ Christmas show will include a special gift to the audience.

The Sharon-based troupe will present “Christmas Pudding II” with a videotaped cameo appearance by Gerald Dickens of England – the great-grandson of novelist Charles Dickens.

The video will be inserted into the show on a screen, with Dickens reading “Christmas with Mistletoe,” from his famed forebear’s first novel, “The Pickwick Papers.”

“Christmas Pudding II” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25 and 26, and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 27, in the basement hall of First Presbyterian Church, 600 E. State St.

John Ackley and Katelyn Powell rehearse a scene from “Christmas Pudding II.”

Black Sheep presented the first “Christmas Pudding” a few years ago and decided to do the follow-up this year as a way to pay homage to actor David Birney, who wrote the show, and who died this year, said Maria Petrella-Ackley, director of the show.

Both “Christmas Pudding” shows are compilations of music and prose for the holidays.

“It’s a nice collection to put people in the holiday spirit,” Petrella-Ackley said.

Black Sheep was able to obtain the services of Dickens with the help of Kirk Kupensky, a harp player from the area who befriended Dickens during one of his many visits to the United Kingdom, said Petrella-Ackley. Kupensky asked if he would do a reading for the production, and Dickens later sent the video.

Charles Dickens is the author of many enduring great novels, including “A Christmas Carol,” “A Tale of Two Cities,” “Great Expectations,” David Copperfield,” “Oliver Twist” and “Bleak House.”

The cast of “Christmas Pudding II” includes John Ackley, Vicki Lingner, Karen Merritt, Mark Perfilio, Sam Perry, Katelyn Powell, Violet Rignani, Emily royer, Zac Sartori, David Schneider and Lois Schneider.

Maureen Murray-Jacklic is the musical director.

Tickets are $15 ($13 for senior citizens) and can be purchased at the door and in advance at

Pictured at top: Gerald Dickens, great grandson of Charles Dickens, will appear in “A Christmas Pudding II” by video.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.