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About

Paonessa Talent Agency, LLC is a boutique agency representing a broad range of ethnicities that is dedicated to seeking out, managing and guiding the careers of Chicago's best talent. We are SAG/AFTRA and Equity franchised with a strong Non-Union division. We provide individual focus to our talent to ensure they have the tools and training necessary for ultimate success in the business.

Paonessa Talent Agency, LLC works to meet our clients and casting directors needs. Our facility is equipped to do on-camera auditions and voiceover recordings.

Fun Fact: The word Paonessa derives from the Italian word for female peacock! 

Meet the Team

Marisa Paonessa, President/Agent

Marisa Paonessa is originally from Albany, New York and graduated with a BFA in Acting from State University of New York at Fredonia. She moved to Chicago in August of 1999 to start her career. Marisa has worked in promotional advertising, as a casting associate and tour manager for Chicago theatre. After realizing her passion for helping Chicago actors, she interned at a talent agency and was soon hired on as an agent. Her former clients urged her to start her own agency, and in January 2010 she opened her own doors. Marisa believes in cultivating personal relationships, giving individual attention and helping guide her talents' careers. When Marisa isn't working she's most likely on the phone with her mother.


Deven Casey Hartley, Agent

Deven is so excited to join Paonessa and work with such a badass team! Most recently, Deven served as the TV/film/Theatrical Agent for BMG Talent. Before that, she served as the Casting Director for Two Birds Casting. A Nashville, TN native and Northwestern University graduate, she begun her career in Chicago working with a number of top Chicago talent agencies. When the sun goes down, Deven can be seen performing with her trans*queer project WITCH HAZEL around the city. Deven particularly loves cheese, horses, and the color black.

Eleanor Axt, Talent Associate

Eleanor is thrilled to be a part of Team Paonessa. Eleanor has been a member of the Chicago theatre community since 2014 working as a Casting Director for various theaters around the city including Jackalope Theatre Company, Drury Lane Theatre, Griffin Theatre, and Piven Theatre Workshop. Eleanor is a die-hard Packers fan, a proud Hufflepuff, and performs stand-up comedy in her spare time. More than anything, Eleanor has developed a strong love for and bond with the acting community of Chicago and is proud to represent some of the very best.


Kelly Hovsepian, Talent Associate

Kelly is originally from the Detroit area. She came to Chicago in 2009 to attend Columbia College, where she graduated from in 2013 with a degree in Film & Television. She worked as a Casting PA for the talent shows The Voice and The X- Factor and worked as a Casting Director on independent and short films. From 2015-2017 Kelly worked as an Assistant Stage Manager at the Raven Theatre. In 2017, she decided to get back into casting and joined Goodman Theatre as the casting intern. Kelly is very excited to be joining the Paonessa team!


Siobhan Reddy-Best, Talent Associate

Siobhan is delighted to join the team at Paonessa! Originally from Providence, RI, Siobhan has been acting since she was a child. She is a proud graduate of Vassar College, where she performed in over 14 full length productions and co-founded a devised theatre ensemble. After teaching acting classes to children in her hometown, Siobhan moved to Chicago, where she has worked with Muse of Fire, Collaboraction, and Lifeline Theatre. Siobhan used her experience as a performer to teach sexual assault prevention classes with Catharsis Productions. She is looking forward to bringing her acting experience to the other side of the table in order to serve the talented clients at Paonessa. When she’s not working, she can be found playing with her part dog/part monster, Nymeria.


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