Brian Winthrop was always interested in entertainment, production and food. He first began helping stage events in 1969, as a student at Northfield Mt. Hermon School. He also founded the Northfield Cooking Club of which he was the youngest and only male member.
In the early seventies during the summer he worked at the Concord Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, NY; daytime as the chef at the pool and in the evening twice weekly broiled 2,500 NY strip steaks for steak night. Additionally, he was employed as an usher in the Imperial Room, then, the world’s largest night club, seating for 3,500 people. Every evening, the Imperial Room hosted a main attraction comedian and a musical artist including Don Rickles, Joey Bishop, Milton Berle, Alan King, Tony Bennett, Cab Calloway, Liza Minelli and Barbara Streisand to name a few. On weekends at the conclusion of the Main Show he then ran the deli in the Night Owl Lounge that featured the Erskin Hawkins Swing Band; composer of the huge forties hit “Tuxedo Junction”.
While attending Stony Brook University in the mid-seventies, Winthrop managed the Student Activity Board Lecture Series and produced several concerts. Productions included Carl Bernstein premiering “All the President’s Men”, comedian Robert Klein opening for Jazz artist Jon Luc Ponty and the multi-platinum disco band, Kool and the Gang.
His first job after college was with the New York speakers bureau, Royce Carlton in 1977. Later, he represented many of the sixties radicals, including Jerry Rubin, Abbey Hoffman, Bobby Seale, and William Kunstler, for the presentation division of New Line Cinema.
In 1980, Winthrop and fellow agent Donny Epstein (Greater Talent Network) left New Line to found Epstein Winthrop International, their own agency, Their first client was G. Gordon Liddy, whom they booked at more than 200 colleges, after which Liddy received the National Association of Campus Activities’ Speaker of the Year Award. Buying Epstein out the following year, Winthrop founded Brian Winthrop International. At the same time, he founded Paradise Artists with then partner, Tom Neilsen (Bright Sight Group).
Nielsen and Winthrop believed that Punk Music would follow the popularity of New Wave music scene. They produced tours for Dead Kennedy’s, Circle Jerks and managed and toured Bad Brains, Stimulators and Pack Nine.
At the same time, BWI diversified and signed numerous topically oriented speakers including Timothy Leary, Wally Amos, Shere Hite, Lisa Birnbach (The Official Preppy Handbook), Senator Birch Bayh as well as comedians including Franken and Davis (Senator Franken), Father Guido Sarducci, Garret Morris, David Brenner and performing artists including the Boston Chamber Music Society, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Zurcher Kammer Orchestra, Frank Zappa, to name a few. Brian Winthrop was also associate producer of the film, Return Engagement, staring G. Gordon Liddy and Timothy Leary. In the film, he has a cameo with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In 1983, BWI, closed a $350K yearly sponsorship contract with Kodak touring a special event entitled Earthwalk, that would eventually tour four hundred college campuses. Earthwalk featured 3,500 slides taken by the Walker Brothers, narrated by Orson Welles featuring the music of Pink Floyd and the Allen Parsons Project.
Also in 1983 BWI started touring Wild Video Dance Party to universities, high schools and military bases. WVDP combined current MTV music videos with a large video projection system, light show and Bose surround sound system. Initially WVDP was sponsored by Bose. More than four million students attended WVDP events at their respective schools! WVDP was featured in several Billboard articles and regularly listed its Top 20 Music Videos in the Billboard Charts. WVDP was so timely and successful that Winthrop sold the package to Coca-Cola, USA in 1987 for a $2.5 million sponsorship. Panasonic/RAMSA co-sponsored the tour by providing $1 million in equipment. As the firm tripled in size, BWI moved from 1995 Broadway (Lincoln Center), NYC to Stamford, CT.
In 1984 Winthrop produced an off Broadway Show, entitled, Shades of Harlem, that had a two year run at the Village Gate, prior to European tour.
In 1987, The Big Surf Drive-In Movie started touring colleges, universities, park and rec facilities as well as country clubs. To date we have produced more than 4,000 Big Wave Drive-In Movies (current name). New for 2016, Big Wave introduced a 3D version with glasses and surround sound.
In 1988, BWI purchased a Swiss laser system and Matt Winthrop, Brian’s brother, booked Lazer Zeppelin at theaters throughout the northeast co-producing the event with local AOR radio stations as well as Saturn V: The Laser Light Show at universities. Laser show bookings exceeded $.5 million annually.
In the 1990’s, WVDP entered the corporate market and was the closing night Gala entertainment event at the Pow Wow in Miami, the MPI National Convention in Chicago, two PCMA National Conventions in Scottsdale and Orlando, the Special Event Convention in Orlando and Miami, the NACE Convention in Chicago and the Event Solutions Convention in Washington, DC. Corporate bookings for Wild Video Dance Party include five years in a row for the Microsoft World Wide Global Summit (San Diego, Montreal, Toronto, Orlando and New Orleans), three years in a row for Cisco, as well as Apple, Intel and IBM, to name a few.
Also in the mid-nineties, Brian Winthrop, was involved with the International Special Event Society and MPI. He received his Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) from the Convention Liaison Council and his Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) from ISES in addition to a two year run as President of the Metropolitan New York Chapter of ISES, now ILEA, as well as publishing numerous articles on producing events and lighting.
In the mid-nineties he partnered with his Swiss wife, Mariella, and founded Big Wave Event Productions, LLC. They stopped representing acts and produced events in the university, association, corporate, fashion, benefit and private party markets. Mariella specializing in design and Brian in live production. Big Wave has received numerous awards form Special Event and ISES.
Today, Big Wave produces major events providing clients with event management, layout, design and our own state-of-the-art audio, video, lighting and décor. Two of the firm’s largest productions were a Japanese fashion show featuring more than 120 models at Grand Central Terminal which one three Big Apple Awards and Kent Presents, an Idea Expo featuring seventy major guest speakers.
The couple has a second firm, Big Wave LED that installs audio, video and lighting. Recent installations include Yale University, The Gunnery, Choate Rosemary Hall as well as numerous catering halls throughout the northeast.
Big Wave Events