Lunchbox Series

Written and Performed by Janina Birtolo

Catherine de Médici
The Black Queen

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Black Queen tells the intriguing story of the Renaissance woman who never expected to be a queen, yet who went on to be the power behind the throne through the reigns of three of her sons. During her early years in her new country, Catherine was despised and discounted as “the Italian woman.” When she became Queen Regent, however, she proved how astute and skilled a leader she was – even during the Protestant Huguenot Rebellion. History has not always treated Catherine kindly, casting her as a villain, a poisoner and a necromancer. But her greatest “crime” may have been one she shared with her contemporary, Queen Elizabeth I of England – that of being an intelligent and powerful woman far ahead of her time.

Performer’s Bio

Born and raised in New Jersey, Janina Birtolo is the daughter of a scientist and a stay-at-home mom who was greatly interested in the arts. Because of that unique combination, she grew up surrounded by music and theater and by discussions of evolution and chemistry–a true liberal arts education! After earning a BA in English from Boston College and an MS in television broadcasting from Boston University, Janina built her career by freelancing for local newspapers and writing for local publications such as Gulfshore Life, Times of the Islands and Naples Health. In 2001, Janina was awarded as “Writer of the Year” by the Florida Magazine Association. As a field producer for WGCU Public Media, she has worked on shows as Arts Edition Prime Time, Connect! and MAKERS: The Women Who Make SW Florida.