In case you’re Dominican, chances are high you are accustomed to morir soñando, a easy however refreshingly crisp batida (milkshake) made with milk, orange juice, and vanilla extract. So simple as the three-ingredient drink appears, there is a purpose it is given such a poetic title. “Morir soñando” interprets as “to die dreaming,” and after only one sip, one immediately appears like they have been transported right into a dream — even when only for a matter of seconds. That was precisely the sensation Dominican American comedians and real-life besties Sasha Merci and Glorelys Mora, who each grew up in uptown (Merci specfically within the Bronx), wished audiences to really feel after they created their first all-Dominican comedy present again in 2019. On Monday, Nov. 6, the Morir Soñando show took over the historic United Palace, previously Loew’s a hundred and seventy fifth Road Theatre, in Washington Heights. It was the primary present within the New York Comedy Competition to incorporate an all-Dominican lineup, and similar to the beverage, it felt like a dream for the Dominican group.
The present opened up with a particular musical efficiency by Dominican bachata artist Jae Camilo and included a formidable lineup of Dominican comedians, from up-and-coming stars like Julio Diaz, Mr. Nuevayol, and Dee Nasty to established comics with HBO Max specials, together with Aida Rodriguez and Ian Lara. Mora was the night’s host and Merci additionally had her personal stage time, making it a jam-packed lineup stuffed with eight gifted Dominican comics that offered out the present inside weeks.
Other than the United Palace, sponsors included Led Black’s The Uptown Collective, Dominican Writers, Word Up Books, Little Dominican Republic, mitútv, and Jalao NYC, which hosted the occasion’s afterparty.
Situated in el Alto Manhattan’s Washington Heights, residence to the nation’s most distinguished Dominican group, the United Palace is without doubt one of the island’s largest and most spectacular theaters. Occupying a full metropolis block, the theater’s lavish design replicates that of a royal palace. It opened its doorways in 1930 and was initially constructed with the intention of showcasing movies, and it is since grow to be a cultural hub for the performing arts — the place everybody from Bob Dylan and Lenny Kravitz to Aventura, Dangerous Bunny, and Becky G have carried out. It has additionally served as a filming location for “John Wick: Chapter 3” and TV collection like NBC’s “Smash,” Netflix’s “Luke Cage,” HBO’s “Crashing,” and Hulu’s “Solely Murders within the Constructing.” However earlier than Morir Soñando, it had but to accommodate a comedy present, not to mention one with solely Dominican comics. That is one thing Merci and Mora had dreamed of having the ability to pull off for years.
“It means a lot to have Morir Soñando as a part of the New York Metropolis Comedy Competition, as a result of the pageant does not have loads of Latino illustration and it positively does not have Dominican illustration. It is the primary time it has ever been accomplished the place there’s a complete Dominican lineup on the pageant,” Mora tells POPSUGAR. “I hold telling everyone this was a dream come true. Clearly, I nonetheless wish to file a particular sooner or later in my profession. However this proper right here, what occurred on Monday, was my dream come true in comedy. Something that occurs after it is a cherry on high. I really feel like I actually made my group proud.”
The present occurred on the Palace’s lobby, with audiences seated across the stage and gathering upstairs within the mezzanine space, which included a VIP lounge, a step and repeat, a bar serving drinks and light-weight snacks — together with empanadas from an area Dominican spot — and a desk with copies of Rodriguez’s new memoir “Reputable Child.” There was even a big Dominican flag hanging from the lobby’s balcony in honor of uptown’s Dominican group.
“The Uptown Collective was vital in making the introductions and the connection and actually constructing that belief with United Palace. They’ve the connection, and we have been speaking about eager to be there since we began the present,” Mora explains. “Led [Black] is an individual who works actually laborious with the Uptown group. We advised him we wanted assist. We had been like we simply want somebody that is going to make this dream larger, and that is what this venture is — it is actually larger than Sasha and I. It’s a group venture. We wished everybody that’s uptown working to essentially be part of it.”
Whereas every comedian’s type and set was completely different, all of them highlighted their experiences being Dominican Individuals, whether or not it was Lara referring to what it is like for Black Dominicans to lastly have their second or Merci joking about being a Dominican residing in Los Angeles, the place we’re hardly acknowledged as Latines, to Rodriguez, who’s half-Dominican and half-Boricua, sharing how the Dominican group has warmly embraced her since she actually began embracing her Dominican roots after lastly reuniting along with her father within the Dominican Republic. Whether or not they grew up uptown, within the outer boroughs, and even exterior of New York, each comedian and their distinctive story was embraced and celebrated by the posse of Dominicans who got here out to point out their help that night. There was no competitors between expertise or shade thrown by any of the company. It was all love and a festivity of los angeles cultura.
“I bear in mind after I had first began doing social media and after I did the film ‘De Lo Mio’ and seeing the influence that had on the Dominican group and the way they got here out for the movie. I used to be like, man, Dee [Nasty] and I ought to do a standup present,” Merci tells POPSUGAR. “Then I met Glorelys and we got here up with Sancocho (a smaller-scale comedy present the duo produced for the Dominican group), and after that, we wished to do one thing that was very intentional. We wished to do one thing that was going to deliver the Dominican group collectively and showcase our group’s expertise. Morir Soñando stemmed from the thought of creating a comedy present for and by Dominican Individuals.”
Merci and Mora insist that they are simply getting began and hope to host a Morir Soñando present on the United Palace yearly — with the dream of someday having the ability to fill each seat within the venue’s fundamental theater. It isn’t a far stretch, contemplating how shortly tickets offered out this time round.
“This was a really particular second, and I addressed that in my set. I began doing comedy in 2011, and at the moment the panorama of standup comedy was very completely different. There weren’t that many Dominican comedians doing comedy on the high degree,” says Lara, who was the present’s nearer. “So to see a lineup strictly primarily based off simply Dominican comedians who’re all in their very own proper killing it and coming collectively on a standup stage was surreal. Doing it at United Palace was simply the cherry on high, as a result of anyone who’s from New York, particularly Uptown, you understand how legendary of a spot it’s.”
The whole lot concerning the occasion felt like a group effort — from the Dominicans within the viewers who confirmed their help and pleasure for everybody who hit the stage to the quite a few methods the present’s producers and sponsors labored to point out their devotion to everybody concerned. It was clear that this was extra than simply your common comedy present. This was a group effort to have a good time and help Dominican creatives and entrepreneurs at each degree, as a result of once we present up for our individuals, we go huge or go residence. Morir Soñando is not only a dream anymore. It is a actuality made doable by each Dominican who was concerned within the occasion’s manufacturing, y créeme we’re simply getting began.