Sally Imbriano is a performer, composer, and coach based in Washington, DC. After a theatre camp that provided her a single line in the summer musical, she decided to pursue the Arts as a career. With an education from the University of New South Wales, Australia and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (and experience working as a dodgeball and zorb football referee, wedding dress model, and cake decorator!), Imbriano went on to perform as Amy in Company, Annabel Glick in Lucky Stiff, Patsy in Always…Patsy Cline. Now, she’s working on both sides of the table as the composer forMy Imaginary Friend at Willow’s Bend and an actor in Seussical the Musical – and will be attending the Helen Hayes Awards rocking a hand-knitted dress of her own creation! Offstage, Imbriano is collaborating with Michelle Lynch to create a new musical as “an ode to [their] younger selves… and how [they] can grow by loving every chapter of [their] journey.” Her advice to young artists? “Just take one step at a time; your career will flourish with little, yet significant steps.” Read on to learn more about Sally Imbriano and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Sally Imbriano
Hometown: Washington, DC
Current City: Washington, DC
Current project: My Imaginary Friend at Willow’s Bend (composer) and Seussical the Musical (actor).
What are some of your favorite credits/projects:
Amy in Company, Annabel Glick in Lucky Stiff, Patsy in Always…Patsy Cline.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Just take one step at a time; your career will flourish with little, yet significant steps.
How did you get your start?
Through dance! My ballet teacher held a summer theater camp where I had one spoken line. I didn’t really know what I was doing then, and I’m still getting a handle on things now, 25 years later, haha.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
My parents will do anything to support my performances. With an international career, it was such a joy to see them come to Edinburgh, Stockholm, Cardiff and Sydney to watch me.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
For so long, I wanted people to like me. I realize now that just being myself is the most gracious thing I can do for myself and for others.
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
My Lola studied piano in University, and my mom made sure we all learned too. Even though I hated it growing up, I now sit down at the piano to de-stress and focus my mind. Music and playing is a great gift.
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I never really had the thought, “I’d like to do this forever. I’m destined to be on stage,” and yet, I kept auditioning, kept collaborating, and it was those everyday choices that brought me such a lush career.
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
I studied both music and psychology in University… and because I was awful at statistics, I discounted a psychology career pretty quickly, haha.
Is where you are now where you thought you’d be?
No, but I love where I am.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between gigs to pay the bills?
Absolutely! I was a dodgeball and zorb football referee, I modeled wedding dresses, I decorated cakes, and walked plenty of dogs. Anything to stay active and stay creative.
Do you have any other “special skills?”
I knit! My mom taught me when I was five, and I’m now knitting my dress for the Helen Hayes Awards this May.
Do you have any side projects you’d like to highlight?
I am collaborating with a friend, Michelle Lynch, on a new musical about acceptance and self-love. It’s an ode to our younger selves, the struggles they went through, and how we can grow by loving every chapter of our journey.
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
When you reflect on your day, remember the things you’re proud of and the things that made you laugh. This act of self-love can go a long way.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
Piano, hahaha. Thanks Mom and Lola.
Where did you study at?
University of New South Wales, Australia and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Marrying the “right” person (who makes me laugh, understands my shortcomings, and is just so easy to be around).
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
I had three local theatres on my bucket list of places to work, and I’ll achieve that goal next year! I guess it’s time to add some theatres to that list and keep pushing forward.
What do you love most about what you do?
The flexibility! I teach singing on the side, and I love that my students are understanding of me booking shows. I also love that my contracts are often just 2-3 months; in the DC theatre scene, you never deal with boredom.
What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?
I see no obvious mistakes, only learning curves.
How do you deal with performance anxiety?
I focus on breathing. Four seconds in, hold, eight seconds out. This slows down the heart rate and focuses your mind.
How do you prepare for a role you consider difficult personally, whether it hits too close to home or goes greatly against your personal beliefs?
Each human being is living their truth, their reality, their mentality, and so on. There may be some people in your life that you feel are toxic, but imagine being in their shoes. Would they call themselves toxic? Probably not. I think the easiest way forward is to try and love that person you’re portraying, create their truth, and adopt that mentality once you hit the stage.
How do you think your creative process has changed over time?
It’s all about your relationship with the material. If that resonates, the creative team will resonate with you.
To find out more on Sally Imbriano, please visit her at:
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