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Alumna finds success as New York City casting director

By on January 10, 2018 in ACU News, Alumni News with 0 Comments

In a move that took her from Abilene Christian University to the bustling streets of New York City, theatre graduate Ally (Bonneau ’14) Beans has stepped from her spotlight on stage to a career behind the scenes.

In April, Ally joined her former boss, casting director Daryl Eisenberg, to form their own company. Eisenberg/Beans Casting works with actors to fill roles for a variety of productions including theatre, film, new media, television and commercials.

Ally’s career as a casting director is already gaining momentum. She was nominated for a 2018 Artios Award for her casting work in Sweet Charity in the category of “New York Theatre – Best Comedy or Musical.” The Artios Award, voted on by members of the Casting Society of America (CSA), is one of the two highest awards available to a professional casting company.

“It’s very surreal to be nominated for an Artios as a first-year member of CSA,” Ally said. “I’m extremely grateful. I feel lucky to be here and be part of it all.”

Ally hails from Dallas, where she grew up aspiring to be an actress. She earned her bachelor of fine arts in theatre from ACU in 2014.

Ally BeansWhile a student at Abilene Christian, Ally completed the Tepper Semester in New York City, where she was mentored by the staff at McCorkle Casting. She went on to work for Daryl Eisenberg Casting (Norwegian Cruise Line, Folger Theatre) and Judy Henderson Casting (Homeland, The New Group) before landing her first indie film deal. Ally regularly coaches actors for on-camera work and travels to schools across the country as a teaching artist.

Theatre professor Adam Hester (’77) directed her in several productions at ACU. “Ally is a go-getter and she is a people person. She has a real love of actors and a real love of helping people succeed,” he said. “Part of her success is the way that she gives herself to other people in order to help them find success.”

At first, Ally thought forming a casting company might be the worst decision of her life. She was nervous about leaving behind her secure jobs for an uncertain career. She also was concerned people would not take her seriously because she was so young. As it turns out, being a casting director has kept her busier than she ever expected. She sometimes auditions more than 150 actors in a day.

Ally strives to help each of the auditioners feel comfortable and become the best they can be, a desire driven by her understanding that making space for people to be comfortable is a lot of what Jesus did.

“What I’ve learned is that my actions and my attitude matter in my day-to-day interactions,” she said. “Even in the small things, I can be a difference. It’s not always evangelizing; sometimes it’s just ‘I’m the nicest person you’re going to come in contact with all day.’ How is that going to make an impact down the line?”

Looking forward, Ally said she hopes to have her own Netflix or Hulu series, but she’s ready to roll with whatever the future brings.

“When you’re confident in what you are doing, other people will be confident in you as well,” Ally said. “As long as I’m believing in myself, they’re believing in me, too. The dreams you have, or the vision you have for your life and your career, nobody is going to make it happen except for you. You can build it. It is possible. You have to start putting in that work on your own.”

Much of Ally’s confidence was inspired by the faculty and staff she encountered at ACU, who have acted as lifetime mentors; she keeps in touch with several of them.

“There is a tangible relationship with professors that my friends from other universities don’t have,” she said. “There isn’t an NYC equivalent to eating at Donna Hester’s house.”

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