Camille de la Cruz: Young singer with the ‘funny genes’

‘I still need to be told to brush my teeth, take a bath, eat my broccoli.’ Photo by Cecilio de la Cruz

By Cristina DC Pastor

Young singer Camille de la Cruz is one of many thousands of theater artists who are currently in a state of hiatus because of the COVID-19 public health pandemic.

“Bedwetter,” a musical based on comedian Sarah Silverman’s life as a 10-year-old Jewish girl, has halted production. It was slated to stage at the Linda Gross Theater on West 20th Street from April 25 to June 14.

“It was just postponed for a little bit,” said a mildly disappointed Camille, 11, speaking to The FilAm about her first off-Broadway play. “It was not cancelled.”

Still a bit of a downer for Camille who debuted last year in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock the Musical” national Broadway tour.  She won raves for her performance as the introvert student Tomika. writes how Camille “stole the show when the shy character she plays starts singing ‘Amazing Grace,’ which brought loud cheers of approval from the audience.”

She is one of the rising stars in Rockit Academy in Red Bank, New Jersey, a nonprofit organization that develops the talent of young music performers.  She has performed in Rockit-produced concerts and held her own beside rock and roll legends the likes of  Eddie Brigatti, Ricky Byrd, and Lou Pallo. She has sung in venues, such as The Cutting Room in NYC and the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park.

Camille stars in the children’s musical comedy series ‘John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch’ streaming on Netflix. Michael Priest Photography

What is keeping this budding thespian busy in a time of self-imposed isolation are her online classes, writing music, and movie nights with her parents. Camille attends the Hammarskjold Middle School in East Brunswick where she is an above-average student who regularly scores 90s in her tests. She is enjoying her school’s Distant Learning program where she said she can attend classes in bed and get a lot of snack breaks.

“Distant Learning is fun,” she said. “I love it that I’m in bed working on school. Our teachers now just send us work or assignments that we need to do for the day in Google classrooms. Although sometimes it is confusing when I haven’t learned how to do a certain Math problem.  Before, I could just ask them right away; now I email my teachers with the questions.”

After all the homework is done, she sits in front of the TV and enjoys a movie night with her parents. 

A typical pre-teen, the U.S.-born Camille declared, “I love all the things an 11-year-old loves, like watching TV, making crafts, watching YouTube video about crafts and how to prank your parents.”

Her parents Cecilio and Anna de la Cruz are a towering presence in her life. Her theater credits acknowledge “mom and dad for their love and support.” Cecilio shared how he monitors Camille’s Instagram and Facebook accounts for any likely nasty posts. Nothing has been flagged so far. He hails from Bulacan and runs his own auto repair shop in New Jersey. His wife Anna Liu from Lucena City works in a European bank as an IT delivery manager.

With film, TV and theater actor Richard Kind.

Camille confided in true juvenile fashion, “I still need to listen to my parents, and get in trouble most of the times specially when I am not listening. I still need to be told to brush my teeth, take a bath, eat my broccoli.”

Love of performing

She is not shy about her love of performing, especially delivering comedic laughs to her audience.

“My dad told me that when I was just 6 months old, I made all my aunts, uncles, grandma and grandpa laugh by imitating Ernie’s (of “Sesame Street”) laugh,” she said. “I believe I am blessed with funny genes!”

One needs a good dose of humor when you are teasingly called ‘Camillavirus’ because you have your parents’ pronounced Chinese features. She just shrugged it off. “Recently someone called me Camillavirus because of the corona virus because I was Chinese. I stood up for myself and I just laughed.” She owes her Asian features to her mom’s Chinese ancestry.

For “Bedwetter,” Camille is to play the role of Amy, 10-year-old Sarah Silverman’s best friend and the most popular girl in school. Rehearsals are currently on hold.

As she bides her time, Camille meditates on how she is thankful for all the opportunities that have come her way. “I’m really blessed,” she said, “to get so many opportunities and be able to do the things that I love the most and that is performing in front of a lot of people!”

© The FilAm 2020

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