Gerald Dickens returns to area with 'A Christmas Carol' and more

Mike Genet

The great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens returns to the metro area this weekend for a series of one-man performances, most of which have been filled with registrations. 

Gerald Dickens, a professional actor in England, has performed for Mid-Continent Public Library audiences for a couple of decades with his one-man rendition of “A Christmas Carol.” This year, in addition to three performances of that show, Dickens will perform a new show called “The Signalman with Gerald Dickens,” which previews his upcoming book about a deadly 1865 rail crash involving Charles Dickens. 

According to the Mid-Continent Public Library, reservations for “A Christmas Carol” performances are full, due to limited seating amid COVID-19 precautions. People can still visit to sign up on the waiting list. Performances of all shows can also be viewed live on the MCPL's You Tube channel. 

Gerald Dickens, great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, in a past one-man performance of 'A Christmas Carol' at a Mid-Continent Public Library venue.

“A Christmas Carol” showtimes are: 

• 7 p.m. Saturday, Liberty Performing Arts Theatre, 1600 S. Withers Road, Liberty. 

• 2 p.m. Sunday, Midwest Genealogy Center, 3440 S. Lee's Summit Road, Independence. 

• 7 p.m. Sunday, Colbern Road Branch, 1000 N.E. Colbern Road, Lee's Summit. 

“Signalman” performances are: 

• 7 p.m. Friday, Woodneath Library Center, 8900 N.E. Flintlock Road, Kansas City in the Northland 

• 2 p.m. Saturday, Midwest Genealogy Center, 3440 S. Lee's Summit Road, Independence. 

Only the Saturday afternoon show had reservation openings as of Monday morning.  

In 2019, Dickens told The Examiner that he always makes the Kansas City area a stop on his pre-Christmas tour of performances in the United States, owing to a strong relationship with the people of Mid-Continent Public Library. His connection to the area started decades ago after his father would travel to Kansas City for a Dickens convention. 

In “A Christmas Carol,” Dickens employs a range of voices and makes use of the whole stage to cover nearly all characters in his great-great-grandfather's the classic tale. 

“The Signalman” is about railway crash in which Charles Dickens was a passenger and tried to help injured passengers. The crash killed 10 people and injured dozens of others, and Dickens' show brings haunting memories to life and previews his upcoming book “Dickens and Staplehurst: A Biography, Recounting the disaster and effect on Charles Dickens.” A Q&A session will follow both “Signalman” performances.