Kevin Kreczko, ’05, had been creating surprising and delightful experiences for people long before he enrolled as a double major in theatre and hospitality at Niagara University. The Cleveland, Ohio, native was inspired by the shows he saw on family vacations to theme parks and began hosting neighborhood Easter egg hunts and haunted houses. In high school, he produced his first event, Making the Millennium Better, which gave homeless children a chance to experience the holidays. The day of celebration included homecooked meals, interactive activities, and live entertainment.
Kreczko continued creating memories for people shortly after arriving on Monteagle Ridge. Working in collaboration with the student associations of the theatre and hospitality programs, he launched K Murders Entertainment – a murder mystery dinner theatre company. The production, “A Murder in the Family,” premiered at an Italian restaurant in Lewiston, N.Y., and toured throughout the Western New York region for three years. During the summer, he worked as a stage manager at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va.
Kreczko got broad training in all facets of both the theatre and hospitality industries at Niagara. This unique foundation earned him a full scholarship at the University of California, Irvine, where he pursued his MFA in stage management. Kreczko noted that his faculty advisor told him that he was a top candidate for the program because of his dual degree and the diverse background he received at Niagara University.
After graduating from UCI, Kreczko moved to Texas to work as a producer for SeaWorld’s Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Celebration at the invitation of the woman for whom he had worked at Busch Gardens. He also taught at Northeast Lakeview College in San Antonio for a couple of years, where he developed the first performance and technical theatre curriculum for its new theatre department.
At SeaWorld, Kreczko learned “the world of Halloween and Christmas,” and applied this knowledge during the next six years as he traveled around the country to create more than 100 haunted houses and countless holiday events for almost every theme park in the country, including Disney, Six Flags, and Busch Gardens.
“In the industry, when people say Halloween or Christmas, they think of me!” he said.
During those years, Kreczko also directed the opening ceremonies for the Women’s Final Four Basketball Tournament, worked on the development of the Verbolten rollercoaster at Busch Gardens, and served as production stage manager for multiple genres of high-level theatrical and event productions, with Broadway artists and highly recognized celebrities.
His dual degree was especially valuable when he accepted a position with Lionstone Development to oversee the creative development of new a hotel property for a legacy entertainment IP.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” he said. “It was a defining moment of my career.”
When developing the strategy for the hotel concept, Kreczko reached out to his friend, Ryan Stana, the CEO and founder of RWS Entertainment Group, a creator of award-winning custom entertainment. During the conversation, Kreczko and Stana discussed the idea of starting an events division at RWS, but Kreczko, who had just moved to Miami, declined the offer. A few months later, after the development of the hotel property stalled, Kreczko flew to New York with his proposal on how to create the division.
Kreczko’s vision and background helped RWS to become the world’s largest provider of live shows, destinations, and immersive experiences. Over the six years he has been with the company, it has tripled in size and rebranded with three subsidiaries as RWS Global. Today, as senior vice president of global business development and marketing, he is part of a team that designs and delivers a variety of experiences in numerous industries. Included in the company’s portfolio of work are live shows and entertainment experiences for MSC Cruises, Big Cedar Lodge, Dallas Cowboys and LEGOLAND; the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ annual conference and trade show; and Kreczko’s specialty, Halloween and Christmas experiences and shows for parks, attractions, and resorts around the world, including Busch Gardens, Six Flags Great America, and Disney.
“I have been part of truly creating the world’s largest experience provider in the world,” he said. “The fact that we produce one million moments each day throughout the world is mind-blowing to me!”