Perth Amboy made me, New York raised me, Washington Heights saved me and now the Bronx love me. I am of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent - although I look like a well-concocted Middle Eastern-Jewish man-boy. Which is fitting since I aspire to be the Domini-Rican Woody Allen (minus the allegations of you-know-what with you-know-who). Hmmm.. actually, I take that back. I'm more like Tyler Perry. Yea, that's it -- the Domini-Rican Tyler Perry.
At age 14, I began performing with a hip hop/salsa dance troupe and by the time I was 18 had participated in numerous semi-professional dance performances and competitions including Amateur Night at the famous Apollo Theater. Not to mention I was a highly sought after choreographer (from age 15 – 18) for tons of local sweet 16’s – which was a big deal for a boy with a dream at that time.
After moving to New York City in 2005, with no formal training in anything related to theater, I began acting and writing for an off off off Broadway urban sketch comedy group. We were like "In Living Color" but better and I was like JLO but better.
During my stint with the comedy troupe, I was able to grow both personally and creatively . From my acting technique, to my play-writing skills, to developing my “style” of comedy, I just grew into my own.
In 2007, I ventured off on my own to write, produce and direct my first play called ‘FRiENDAMiGO’ about a group of gay friends from Washington Heights. I took what I knew about being gay and Dominican and created a laugh out loud comedy experience for my audience. After a few shows in 2008, I stopped doing anything theater related because I wanted to focus on becoming a better person because of Oprah - whatever that means - so I just did what made me happy which was salsa dancing.
In 2013 I brought ‘FRiENDAMiGO’ back - bigger and better and to date we've done over 15 shows at various venues all over NYC. People love FRIENDAMIGO and that’s a testament to its intention - to make people laugh their asses off!
When I’m not writing, I continue to dance salsa. Sometimes I get paid to perform, sometimes I do it for free, but compensation aside (because it is NOT about the money for me), I dance because I love to. It's my therapy, my passion and just another way of storytelling for me. Many say that I am a great dancer and should do it professionally but I prefer to focus on the bigger picture - you know, the writing, producing, directing, acting thing.
In the end, nothing I do creatively is ever about the money. Would I like to make a living doing what I love? Of course! Will I? Who knows, but I sure as hell will live the rest of my life trying, in hopes that one day I am blessed enough to turn my passion for it into some serious prosperity.
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Also check out my 2015 BRIO AWARD win for Spoken Word.