Dominican comedians took over New York’s historic United Palace for the “Morir Soñando” show. Part of the New York Comedy Festival, the show is the first in the festival to feature an all-Dominican lineup. It even sold out in the first few weeks of ticket sales.

But this was not the first time Sasha Merci, and Glorelys Mora shared the stage with other comedians. They started the show in 2019 with dreams of making it onto a historic stage.

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The star-studded event oozed island pride

Washington Heights is made up of the biggest Dominican population in the country. So it’s no surprise that a large flag was hanging from the foyer’s balcony inside the theater as the show took place.

Mora and Merci both got stage time and were joined by up-and-coming stars like Julio Diaz, Mr. Nuevayol, and Darlene Demorizi, aka Dee Nasty, and well-known comedians like Aida Rodriguez and Ian Lara. It wasn’t all comedy, though. Bachata artist Jae Camilo performed the opening number.

Growing up Dominican in uptown New York, Merci and Mora know firsthand how universal their experiences are. But still, each comedian brought their own flair to the show.

For Lara, who closed the show, it was an important moment because it showed him just how much the comedy scene has changed. He’s been doing stand-up since 2011 and he remembers how few Dominican comedians there were to look up to.

His set also gave a shout-out to Black Dominicans who are now having their moment in comedy.

Merci and Mora hope the shows inspire more people to join them in representing Dominicans everywhere

As their audience continues to grow, Merci and Mora are hoping to do this show at United Palace every year with bigger and bigger crowds.

“I’m still processing the magnitude of what we accomplished last week. We bridged so many gaps, but also created visibility for a new path,” Mora told mitú. “A lot of why I procrastinated on pursuing a career in comedy is because I hadn’t seen someone like ME ever do it, I didn’t think I had permission to explore stand-up comedy.”

The comedian, who hosts mitú’s “Girl, Let Me Tell You” podcast along Jessica Flores and Ivana Rojas went on to explain how the performance could have a life-changing effect on someone’s life.

“I’ve gotten so much positive feedback about the show; the thank yous are still rolling in. I’m glad we were able to bring the laughs Uptown (a place that is often excluded from the NYC comedy scene). It feels good to have made my mom, family and hood so proud.”

She is hopeful for the new opportunities this will create for young Dominicans in the arts.

“Now whenever I pick my niece up from school and pass by this theater she’ll know what’s possible for her,” she says. “Words truly don’t do justice to how fulfilled I feel. As always, I want to thank everyone involved in making this happen. This was a group project that everyone showed up for!”