|Production Team Bios|
|Rickles &Newhart A Love Story are the same creative team who created and produced Dinner wtih Don!
Tony Oppedisano: Producer
Like so many Italian-Americans deeply immersed in that rich history and culture, Tony developed a love for the arts, especially music, very early in life. At age 5 he taught himself to play the piano and went on to learn six more instruments: guitar, mandolin, violin, viola, cello and bass.
When Tony “O” was 17, with the aid of a fake ID, he began playing professionally in nightclubs, in and around New York City and eventually performed in some of Manhattan's top night spots including "Jimmy Weston's", "Barney Google's" and the legendary "Copacabana". At 19,he was already playing jazz guitar at "Jilly's" on 52nd Street. Jilly Rizzo soon became a mentor to Tony and in 1972, introduced him to Frank Sinatra. This was the beginning of a relationship that eventually spanned 26 years.
By age 23, Tony had all but phased out performing as a musician and was earning his living predominantly as a singer. With the nightclub era coming to an end in NY and a major exodus of show business (in general) to the west coast, in 1976,Tony moved to Los Angeles to continue his pursuit of a career in the entertainment industry. He performed in various clubs and hotels in LA, building his name and a following. In 1979, he signed a 3 year contract with both Harrah's in Lake Tahoe and Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Also that year, he recorded 6 songs with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra in the hope of landing a contract with a record label.
Due to rapidly changing musical tastes and an industry shift to alternative musical styles, the elusive "deal" was not to be. Tony played out the term of his contracts and made the painful decision to abandon his performing career.
In 1982, he turned his sights to producing and went on to produce such TV shows as: "The Stroh's Circle of Sports" a series for the USA network; a comedy series for the BBC entitled "Stand-up America", whose stars included: Jerry Seinfeld, Rita Rudner and Bob Saget and "The Billy Martin Roast" for NBC. He also produced 7 star-studded black-tie galas starring Bob Hope, which annually benefited "The Rose Bowl".
Throughout the 1980s,Tony partnered with his pal Jilly on various entertainment projects including talent management. Being so heavily involved with Jilly, resulted in Tony spending more and more quality time with Frank Sinatra. Eventually that relationship led to Tony becoming Frank's Road / Co-Manager.
In1993, Don Rickles, who had befriended Tony during an engagement in 1980 when the two were performing at Harrah's Tahoe, asked Tony to become his Road / Co- Manager as well.
Tony signed and partnered with a young actor/producer named Michael Guarnera and in 2008, the two formed a production company called Winbrook Entertainment. In 2009, they produced a feature film entitled "The House That Jack Built" starring Joe Mantegna, Gail O'Grady and Michael Guarnera. In 2012, Winbrook partnered on another feature film, a musical comedy entitled "How Sweet It Is". The film starred Paul Sorvino, Joe Piscopo, Erika Chritensen, Michael Guarnera and Erich Bergen. Over the course of his 24 year management tenure with Rickles, Tony produced many different concert formats for Don, with the inclusion of a full orchestra. In 2016, he built a "90th Birthday Retrospective" show, with career reflective film & video highlights, personal anecdotes and an audience
"Q & A". Pairing Don on stage with longtime friend, Regis Philbin, The "Laughfest" as it was billed, toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada. In early 2017, Tony created a "legacy series" for Don Rickles, entitled "Dinner With Don". The show, starring Rickles, featured such luminaries as Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Jimmy Kimmel, Amy Peohler, Judd Apatow and Snoop Dogg! Winbrook joined producing forces with Vincent DeSalvo of DCi and the trio partnered with the newly formed AARP Studios to fund the show. An initial order was placed for 10 episodes. After shooting the first two, AARP doubled their order to 20. Fortunately, Winbrook was able to get 13 done, before Don took ill. Currently, Winbrook Entertainment has four feature films and three weekly episodic TV dramas in development.
Tony has also produced:
A documentary film commemorating Sinatra's 100th Birthday entitled: "SINATRA - To Be Frank".
Tony is a featured "on camera" personality throughout the film, along with Alice Copper, Sir Tim Rice and Simon-Napier-Bell. It was released theatrically in the U.K. & throughout Europe and is currently streaming on NETFLIX.
"A Tribute To Buddy Rich" Starring Buddy's daughter Cathy Rich & legendary drummers Louie Bellson, Vinnie Colliuta & Steve Gadd,which aired on PBS. (As well as producing two albums for Paolo Nonnis and the New Buddy Rich Orchestra)
"Songs My Mother Taught Me" Starring Lorna Luft ..a theatrical tribute to her mother- Judy Garland
"Memories Are Made Of This" Starring Deana Martin ..a theatrical tribute to her father- Dean Martin
Tony has received :
Two Emmy Award certificates from The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences for The Emmy Award Winning HBO film: "Mr.Warmth: The Don Rickles Project" directed by John Landis
A Triple Platinum Record and a Platinum & Gold Record from Capitol Records for his contributions on Frank Sinatra's Duets One & Duets Two record projects
And a Gold Record for the compilation album entitled "Mob Hits"
Additionaly, in 2018, the "Dinner With Don" Series was nominated for two Webby Awards and went on to win the 2018 International Academy of Web Television Award in the Best Comedy Series category.
Michael Guarnera: Producer
Michael Guarnera, originally from Boston, started out as a classical actor with extensive training in Boston, San Diego, and Los Angeles. With over 50 plays and musicals under his belt, he went from Broadway and national touring companies, to film and television, both in front of the camera and behind.
He has acted in such films as Charlie’s Angel’s Full Throttle, S.W.A.T., Bruce Almighty, The House That Jack Built, and How Sweet It Is, and guest starred on numerous television series such as Desperate Housewives, NCIS, The District, and Alias to name a few.
In 2009 he partnered up with Tony Oppedisano to open their production company Winbrook Entertainment. Their first venture being the psychological thriller The House that Jack built that he produced, and starred in opposite Joe Mantegna, Gail O’Grady, and Hal Sparks. Most recently he co-created and was co-executive producer of the award winning web series “Dinner With Don” starring the legendary Don Rickles.
Having several movies and television projects (scripted and unscripted) currently in development and preproduction, Winbrook Entertainment is well on its way to becoming a well -respected and sought after production entity.
Being extensively experienced on both sides of the camera has afforded Michael the ability to supervise a production from both an economic and creative mind set. It is his overall knowledge and commitment to the art that makes him valuable to any production, whether it be in front of the camera as an actor, or overseeing the day-to-day tasks that help to create a viable, profitable, and quality film project.
Vincent DeSalvo: Producer/Writer/Director
Vincent DeSalvo was 19 and a college student when he was hired as a full-time writer. It was his first professional gig and was his entry into film and television. He has been at it ever since and is what the industry calls, a “hyphenate”, someone who is multi-disciplined with credits as a producer, writer and director.
But it all began in the creation of documentaries. Vincent was hired by the Washington Post to begin a documentary unit which would produce content to be aired across all of the Washington Post chain of television stations.
He traveled the country writing, producing and directing stories which shined a light on the America rarely seen or portrayed in media today.
During his brief time with the Post, those documentaries won two Emmys, The Gavel Award from The American Bar Association, and The Clara Barton Medal from The Red Cross.
In 1984 he left the Post to start his own production company, DCi Communications, which produces documentaries, as well as content for film and television.
His documentaries have taken him around the world twice and range from an investigative documentary shot in the Middle East during the Arab Spring, to human interest stories such as “Gray Eagles”, in which a former World War II Mustang Ace was reunited with the plane he flew during the war.
Vincent is also one of the busiest script doctors in Hollywood, hired to fix “broken” scripts to prepare them for production. He is also a sought-after second unit director for a number of television dramas due to his strengths as a director of extreme action sequences such as car chases, aerial sequences, gun battles and pyrotechnics.
Several years ago, Vincent teamed with Tony “O” and Michael Guarnera to co-create and co-executive produce “Dinner with Don” starring Don Rickles.
It’s one of his proudest achievements and he is honored to have played a part in Don Rickles’ valedictory and to have been a small part of the Rickles legacy.
Gina Feliccia Excutive Producer began her theatre experience through out San Diego County, before moving to New York at the early age of 18. She continued to follow her dream while studying at the American Academy for the Performing Arts, and privately with some of New York’s finest vocal coaches. Gina walked the yellow brick road to stardom on Broadway after starring as Dorothy in the National Tour of the Wizard of Oz. She was the first female to be contracted for both starring roles Cosette and Eponine in the Broadway Cast as well as the National Touring Company of Les Miserables. Gina toured and performed in professional productions such as Camelot, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, Ava in Evita and Marian in Music Man. She has performed in numerous industrial’s and concerts both in the USA and out of the country, from Montreal to Mexico. Gina has performed in more than 50 musical’s and concerts since the age of 12. Highlights from her youth include Maria in West Side Story, Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof and Mona Kent in Dames At Sea.
Among Gina’s own performance experience she proudly is creative producer for Big City Broadway for the last 15 years. It is a collaboration with childhood friend and fellow Broadway performer, Eric Kunze. Big City Broadway or BCB as it sometimes is referred to as, was designed “to give students opportunity’s Eric and I never had”. To work along side working professionals, build real industry relationships, and prepare for college and career. Gina’s passions are musical theatre producing and directing, her children, Sofia and Giuliana and her hunky husband Zach!