Richard Abanes

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Richard Abanes (/əˈbɑːnɨs/) is a bestselling and award-winning American writer. As an author/journalist, Abanes specializes in the area of socio-religious issues, cults, the occult, world religions, the entertainment industry, and pop culture. Since 1994 he has written/co-written twenty books (as of 2009) covering a broad range of topics.

In 1997, for his work on "intolerance" in North America (see American Militias: Rebellion, Racism, and Religion), he received an award from The Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.[1] Also in 1997, Abanes won the Evangelical Press Association's Higher Goals In Journalism Award for his article on various religions in America.

As a lecturer on diverse social, religious, and historical topics, he has been a guest speaker at various institutions, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Caltech, Mensa, California Baptist University, and Biola University. Abanes also has been interviewed on hundreds of radio/TV programs and networks including the BBC, MSNBC, CNN, Extra, and Hard Copy as an authority on cults/religion, pop culture, and the entertainment industry.

Career[edit]

Abanes began his career as a professional singer, dancer, and actor (with Screen Actors Guild and Actors' Equity Association) in local theater (Rockford, Illinois) at the age of thirteen. He began doing semi-professional theater within a year, and during his high school years he was featured in many productions throughout Northern Illinois including West Side Story, Fiddler On the Roof, and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. He also became a featured dancer in the Rockford Dance Company, while simultaneously studying dance in Chicago with professional companies such as The Hubbard Street Dancers and Joel Hall Studios.[2]

Abanes subsequently moved to New York, where he landed a role in the "International" and "Bus & Truck" companies of the hit Broadway musical A Chorus Line. Soon afterward, Abanes was given a featured dance role on Broadway in the musical Dreamgirls. In the years that followed, Abanes was featured in national television commercials such as Canada Dry, Wendy's, and Nissan. He also played the lead role in an ABC Afterschool Special, co-starred in the film Rappin', and starred in the Bill Moyers PBS special titled "The Constitution." While in New York, he continued his studies in dance with American Dance Machine, Alvin Ailey Dance Center, American Ballet Theatre, Luigi's Jazz Center, Rick Atwell, and Ann Reinking.[3]

Abanes eventually began to pursue a second career as a full-time freelance journalist. This led to his first book, Prophets of the Apocalypse: David Koresh and Other American Messiahs, which was co-authored with three other writers and published in 1994 (Baker Books).

As of 2010, in addition to being an active author/journalist, Abanes was again working in the field of show business as a singer, dancer, and actor. In July of that year, he performed the role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar with Rockford's Bonzi Productions.[4] Abanes has since appeared on New York stages in a production "Song of Solomon" [5](written by Andrew Beall & Neil Van Leeuwen), "Yes! The Musical" [6](originally produced in showcase form by The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts), and "Pearl: The Musical" (based on the life of Pearl Bailey). In this most recent show, directed by Tony Award winner, Ben Harney, Abanes played multiple roles including entertainment legends Bob Hope, Johnny Mercer, Frank Sinatra, and Andy Williams.

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