Let Us Entertain You!

Meet 6 amazing North Shore women who know how to show you a good time

It’s an indisputable fact: North Shore women know how to have fun and make sure their friends and families do too. To give you a little inspiration for this holiday season, here are six women who entertain in very different ways – big and small, on stages and off. And doing it all without losing sight of making the world better by raising funds for charitable groups, collecting toys for children in hospitals, inspiring and teaching the next generation.


Barbara Rinella
Age: 66

Why she’s entertaining: Barbara Rinella brings great literature to life as a first-person book dramatist, becoming characters in books that intrigue her in order to teach and entertain her audiences. Because she loves people, interacting with the audience is her favorite part of her work. Because she is witty, creative and beautiful, those audiences love her right back.

Her start: In 1979, a member of her own cherished book group hired Rinella to review a book for Chicago’s Women’s Athletic Club. This blossomed into a several-hundred-performances-per-year career.

Rinella is particularly beloved by North Shore women’s groups, but is appreciated nationally and internationally too. Rinella performs on Crystal Line cruises every February and, occasionally, in New York City, Washington, D.C., and vacation spots for the thoughtful and well-connected, such as Palm Beach and Naples, Fla.

Her passions: Rinella loves family, church, sports and pets. This proud wife, mother of two and grandmother of one never misses an opportunity to show off the family photos she always keeps with her. Her performances usually include an enthusiastic description of her granddaughter’s most recent antics.

An avid tennis and paddle tennis player, the athletic Rinella arrived for her interview in black Spandex workout wear. She appears to be in better shape than most college athletes. Within minutes, she was perfectly mimicking world leaders, on her knees demonstrating Japanese tea ceremony etiquette, and rubbing our dogs who had plopped themselves in her lap.

Rinella has been described by audience members as the woman anyone would want as their next-door neighbor. We agree.

Her method: Donning costumes to portray her characters, Rinella acts out scripts that she writes using as much as possible of an author’s original text. Because notes hamper audience involvement, she memorizes everything.

Her recommendations: Rinella ends her performances with her list of suggested books – and often with those family photos. For a list of her current recommended books or for her schedule of upcoming reviews, visit BarbaraRinella.com.

— Susan B. Noyes

(Photos: Barbara dressed in character, including as Jennie Jerome Churchill, mother of Winston Churchill; Albert Einstein and Andrew Jackson.)