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Gig&Tell: RWS and Associates

  • Depends on location    
    01/16/2018  6:37pm

    So I just finished my first RWS contract and it was great! The company was super organized, efficient, and overall very put-together. Emails are always responded too in a timely manner and there is always someone specific you can reach out to for any given issue. RWS "reps" came out to our park several times to check-in/see the show throughout the course of the contract. My only caveat would be in regards to WHERE you are working for RWS. As a lot of us know, theme parks are hard work and not for everyone. I personally love working at theme parks. However, some parks are notorious for not always providing the best conditions for their performers. My only issues with my last contract were with the park itself, not with RWS who were extremely helpful.

    Honestly, I would love to work for RWS again! I personally had no problems with them as a company and overall had a great experience.

    They treat their performers like garbage. The contracts are written so that they can screw you over at every opportunity. They take themselves VERY seriously and produce mediocre at best entertainment. Terrible company.

    08/08/2018  12:21pm
  • ok    
    06/01/2017  7:49pm

    I did a contract with them for Holland America and overall it was fine.

    casting is a bit slow and they have been known to give out last minute contracts so you may have to scramble your life around quickly, but you make enough money on ships that you can manage it.

    rehearsals were fine. the studio is nice. It is early mornings for a singer if you don't live in Queens and commute there. I loved my teachers, but I know that they have had some changes so I don't know if you would have the same great team. BUT their "housing" is THE WORST. It is like a prison.

    Their shows are also ok. The choreography is a bit more modern than other production companies which is cool. But the singers blocking was literally just standing around singing. It isn't a thrilling package for a singer.

    I also thought that they took themselves too seriously. We should all expect professionalism and to do what is asked of us, but I felt there was very little room for interpretation and personality because they are so afraid of Hollands head of entertainment. It has kind of made them roll their eyes and bite the hands that feed them, but when push comes to shove they have adopted the same level of douche-y that Bill Prince is.

    They do seem to rehire a lot, so if you are looking to do a few contracts then they are definitely worth going in to audition for.

    Yeah there wasn't much to really complain about, it was all just kind of ok.

    RWS is the worst. There are so many problems, but first and foremost: they pay their female dancers less than their male dancers. It's bullshit.

    11/08/2017  1:01am

    If you have the chance to work for RWS... DO IT!!!

    I honestly think RWS is absolutely AMAZING. They have been extremely communicative, trustworthy and kind. RWS has grown SO much in the past couple years and they provide housing for all of the parks they cast for (for the performers they cast).. my park doesn't offer housing, but RWS arranged corporate housing - which is absolutely gorgeous and in an incredible part of town.. they arranged rental cars for the duration of the contract and even provided me with a travel stipend that covered the cost of my airfare roundtrip.

    They offer a performers rewards program which is super super cool. Basically if you get 8 customer compliments on your show you get a $15 gift card to either panera, olive garden, dave and busters, etc... If you get 12 compliments you get a $25 gift card to starbucks, amazon, iTunes, etc.. and if you get 15 compliments they arrange an industry day at their studios in NYC for your entire cast and you get to audition for casting companies and agents. It's pretty simple to get - we got all 15 by our third or fourth week in.

    Working for them has been absolutely amazing. Theme park life is hard, but it's spelled out for you in the contract... 5 shows a night, long rehearsals... but it's a good job with GREAT pay and benefits. I would encourage anyone to work for them because they also like to bring people back... we got an email this morning from their casting directors asking if we were interested in summer contracts, so they really like to hire people they have worked with before.

    Work with them.. you won't regret it!!

    12/27/2017  1:18am
  • Do it :) 10/20/2014  5:59pm

    First I'm glad, theme parks and production companies are making their way here, they need love too (or not if you hated it that much ;) Anyways, they were my very first pro gig I ever had and I wouldn't trade it for the world! and while yes I worked hard, it's quite a lot of shows per day, but the experience changed my life in more ways than one. Yeah, you can find other places/gigs that will pay you more for less, but if this place hires you and say, you don't have some fabulous national tour gig coming up or something, then do this, they are wonderful! Oh and they offer EMC points, they started that a few years ago ;)

    Whoever this is is cray cray. By far the worst experience I've had to date. Run far away from RWS.
    The rehearsal hours were from 10-10, but they would often keep us past 10. We didn't have housing for the theme park I was at, so the commute was horrid. Our company manager didn't know anything about theater, the whole contract was disorganized and messy. Twice we didn't get the day off that was in our contract. I would go home crying every night. What a horror. We couldn't get into contact with the producer for DAYS. Our costumes would fall apart and we would have to improvise with no help from RWS. If you accept a contract from them, know what you're getting into. Read the fine lines. They didn't tell me I would be a costume character once a day six days a week until my second day of rehearsals.

    11/03/2014  9:13am

    ^i wholeheartedly disagree with this post.

    I worked a theme park gig for them and we ALWAYS got out of rehearsals super early and rehearsals were super efficient, and we even got paid for 2 days that we didn't end up needing to work. I had housing who wasn't great, but I'm not in this business for nice housing. The company manager just seems like a specific case/scenario. The producer was super communicative with us, and the whole company was extremely nice. Re: costumed characters, that's your fault for not reading your contract. I'm sure it was explicitly written, you just didn't bother to read it (even though it's your job!) my costume was great, and the guy doing it rings was EXTREMELY nice and organized. I say do it!

    11/05/2014  12:25am

    Oh...I'M SORRY. Where did it say I didn't go through my contract with a fine toothed comb? I dissected my contract, as any mature and grown person would do. NO WHERE IN MY CONTRACT DID IT SAY I WOULD BE A COSTUME CHARACTER.

    And...why would you not want good housing? This is your CAREER. This is your life. If someone offered you to pay 800 bucks to live in a box, would you do that? No? Then why would you expect any less on a job that you should get PAID to do?

    For future reference, don't make assumptions about someone else's ability to do something. No no.

    11/07/2014  10:56pm

    Woah, previous post. Maybe you had a shitty time because you were busy yelling at people on anonymous internet threads.

    I agree with the OP. I've done small weekend things w/ them and thought they were good for what they were.

    11/09/2014  1:01pm

    Glad I spurred debate at least lol. I can see where my first replier was unhappy, as much as I like them, I somehow wouldn't be totally surprised at them springing 'character' when the contract has already started when it doesn't say that's what you'll be doing. But I was fine, to my recollection I wasn't asked/didn't do anything that wasn't already there in my contract, it's hearing stories like that, that remind me everyone has a different experience at the same places. I possibly would have spoken to them about it, tactfully of course, but I find it sad and kind of sick that some places will spring that up on you later, making you feel like you have to continue for the sake of your gig and to avoid legal battles and blacklisting. You've just got to be careful with contracts. I REALLY wish more schools programs would teach more of this, we need it more than they realize.

    11/12/2014  8:24pm

    I don't see where/how RWS offers EMC points...they're not on the list on the AEA website. Can someone alert me to a document that proves they do?

    11/17/2014  8:51pm

    In my belief, they don't offer EMC points. I do believe that they offer equity cards for certain parks, but no point system.

    11/19/2014  3:22pm

    done several contracts with them. of course they have the good and the bad, but I love working for this company. fun, excellent group of people. Certain contracts allow you to receive your cards and I have done two of those contracts. Where more than 1 person joined equity at the end of the gig.

    11/30/2014  4:31pm

    What parks will RWS give Equity Card?

    03/05/2015  6:35am

    I was offered my card last summer to do Santaland. Didn't take it, but was kinda cool to get the offer.

    03/05/2015  2:03pm

    Santas Village offers Equity Cards and know people who have gotten their Equity cards doing a show at a resort.

    09/14/2015  1:46pm

    The company and park were disorganized, the company manager behaved inappropriately with cast members and the whole summer was just incident after incident of poor communication and lack of knowledge of what actors need. Uncomfortable situations all over the place. Be very very careful.

    09/27/2015  9:14am

    RWS wasn't the worst company I've worked for but not great by a long shot. Once you've left for the contract they do seem more concerned with their relationship with the client than with the actors frequently taking the tone of "suck it up" or "you should feel lucky to be working." Rehearsals were fine if a bit unorganized. Payroll is a mess. They do often hire people they've worked with before for other jobs I'm told which is nice. They are very image conscious and decidedly like to paint themselves and their contracts through rose colored glasses. I've found that if their contract says you 'may be required to do etc, that means you 'will frequently' be required to do etc. All said I probably won't work for them again unless I really needed some money.

    02/25/2016  1:53am

    DON'T WORK FOR THEM. Run away. The information they give you before the contract starts is not at all the truth. Rehearsals were a complete, disorganized mess. They really only care about themselves which would be fine if they didn't so adamantly pretend that you, the performer, are so important. They lied to our cast countless times and at the end of the day just don't care about you. If anything goes wrong, it's your fault, but if it goes right, they're the cause. I read this thread before taking the job and should have taken the negative comments more seriously. Don't even audition. Several of us said we'd rather be waiting tables in NY and auditioning for other jobs than on that contract.

    04/25/2016  1:32pm

    I did a contract with RWS for Holland America Cruise Lines. I loved RWS, absolutely loved them. Holland-thats another story. Everyone in the RWS office supported us every step of the way and are some of the nicest people i've ever met.
    Granted, I've done theme park work and wouldn't do that for ANYONE. Lol.

    06/01/2016  12:56am

    Yeah I can see how this doesn't have a good review... I have not worked for Holland America Before, however; I have auditioned! I am a dancer who has trained for many many years. I even have a BFA in it. On top of that I have worked for much more prestigious Cruise Lines in the past. And I was only auditioning for fun! When I auditioned for Holland I was excited till I learned the combination. The guy teaching the combination didn't even know his vocabulary for dance. And needless to say when he demonstrated was evidence of that. Even my teachers who are 50 years old can mark a dance better then he did. He was young and very able. Anyway, Holland is under operation of RWS and Associates. I hope being on the ships and everything else is much better then what that was. I also heard that he gave feed back to some of the dancers at other auditions... I hope they realized that they shouldn't listen to what he has to say. I highly question everything that RWS and Associates are doing now after everything that I have heard about them!

    09/07/2016  6:54pm

    Yeah, I know I while ago the assistant casting director was taking pictures of people's outfits he disagreed with (faces not included ) and shaming them on facebook.

    All cruiselines are admittedly shallow and very image-oriented, but rws consistently takes the cake.

    09/14/2016  5:48pm

    GO TO THESE AUDITIONS. You would have to be plain ignorant or have messed up and burned a bridge to not want to work for this company. They are growing RAPIDLY and you want to be in on the ground floor. I have worked many times for them in all different locations and capacities. Let me tell you that they are as loyal as a production company can be. You are not a number to them and they love to rehire performers who work hard and do a good job for them. If you want to get paid well and work for some of the TOP choreography/direction names in the biz today (Ricky Hinds, Lorin Latarro, Marc Kimmelman, Ryan Kasparzak, Billy Griffin, just to name a few) then get out to RWS' next audition. Seriously.

    11/11/2016  12:10am

    I have to say I'm a bit shocked at all these negative reviews. RWS has been nothing short of amazing to me, and has been a great experience from the beginning. Among other things, I recently completed a theme park contract with them and was entirely satisfied. Free housing in a large, clean house about a 30 second walk from the park, great pay, great area of the country, I got to travel, organized and motivated company manager and the lines of communication with RWS were constantly there and open. If we had a problem with our schedules, or felt that something was unclear in the contract, we contacted them and worked together with them. That being said, it's hard work! And that is what having a theme park credit means to people - that you worked hard. And any additional work that was not in our contracts, was discussed, agreed to, and compensated for.
    Now in regards to RWS specifically, I agree with the most recent post. They are growing incredibly fast and are incredibly loyal to actors whom they have cast before. As I've seen from their social media, they recently acquired another casting company as well. They are a positive company who treats performers as people, certainly not a number, and want to see you grow and improve. I highly suggest going to their auditions and keeping in contact with them.

    11/11/2016  9:00am

    While I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I would like to point out that there are always positives and negatives to every contract out there. RWS and Associates is a great gig for those just beginning to break into the business. The work is exhausting, the hours are long and sometimes the job is tedious (i.e. costume character performances, character meet and greets, etc.). But, it's some of the best non-union pay for the work that you're doing and you get your foot in the door with A LOT of great people. I have made incredible connections with industry professionals and have been able to add Broadway choreographers/directors to my resume. I think the one thing that people really need to know about this company is that you're not performing for the money or for the context of the work. RWS and Associates provides corporate entertainment. This is not a surprise when you take one of these contracts. You're performing for and interacting with a lot of people, mostly children, who may have never seen a theatrical production before. They really do believe that you are Cinderella or one of Santa's elves. It's humbling. Really. I think everyone should really do at least one contract with this company because it grounds you, makes you appreciate the work and reminds you that you are only one, small part of this business. I work regionally and go in for all types of projects elsewhere, but if RWS ever calls and asks for me to fill in a weekend here or there at one of their parks, workshop a show in the city, or record voice overs, I never hesitate. Plus, they have recently acquired Binder Casting and can only grow from here! If you're basing your opinion off of working outside, the number of shows you're doing a day, or the type of housing you're living in when you're rarely home, etc., you should really think about the full picture before coming in for an audition for this company. :)

    11/11/2016  12:18pm

    I have worked for this company multiple times in several areas and I have nothing to complaint about. They are the nicest people and you are not just a number to them. My experience with them has been life changing in a good way. I highly recommend going to these audions. They are growing very fast and love to rehire performers who work hard and do a great job for them. Go to these audions!.

    11/12/2016  1:19am

    I have been working for RWS & Associates for 3 years and I couldn't be happier. Their slogan is "Making Entertainment Matter" and that is exactly what they do. The quality of their shows and the professionalism set forth by the company reminds you why you do theater. They have such a high regard and consideration for their performers because they understand what it's like and they make sure that their performers are always treated with the utmost respect. They offer competitive salaries but pull from just as competitive talent from across the nation. With lines like Holland America, and parks across the country, RWS is always looking to hire fresh talented performers. Along with that, the company has always been prompt in regards to communicating and negotiating contracts, making the business process smooth and professional. No matter what your circumstance is, someone will always work with you until your process is the easiest it can be as you begin your contract. Therefore, once rehearsals begin, you are expected as a professional performer to bring the same professionalism and dedication set forth by the company, as any professional company would expect. Although the rehearsal process can be vigorous, the shows come out looking beautiful, professional, and clean. Along with that the company has always abided by the times set forth in your initial contract. The staff at RWS knows exactly what it's like being a performer, and they make it their priority that the performers are always comfortable and able to give 100% 100% of the time. Plus, now that RWS is in collaboration with Binder Casting (Broadway: Lion King, A Chorus Line, Gypsy, Chicago, and 70 other shows), the company has a whole new window of opportunity for those that have previously worked and/or auditioning for the company. RWS & Associates is a company you want to work for. They create amazing shows and they will always treat you with respect. It is such a great experience working for them and I implore anyone who's considering auditioning to go because working for this company has truly solidified why I do theater in the first place.

    11/12/2016  3:17pm

    RWS was my first professional job ever and it set the bar extremely high. Their entertainment package for Holland America ships, specifically, really changed my perspective on "cruise ship dancing". They provided choreographers who presently working on Broadway and added to the professionalism. RWS is also a great company that provides work for actors, singers, and dancers consistently if you perform and represent them well. Since my first contract, I have been contact numerous times for many different jobs in the industry for them - and I couldn't be happier. They push you as a performer, but the rehearsal process is normally filled with a lot of laughs (bonus* if offered housing its literally right across the street from their GORGEOUS studios with amazing restaurants and bars in the neighborhood) This company is fantastic, and growing immensely, I highly recommend.

    11/17/2016  5:22am