Since she was three years old, Eevie Perez has had a penchant for performance. “I used to dress up in princess costumes and sing for my parents for hours,” said the Del Mar resident and current senior at Canyon Crest Academy. “I started dance classes and voice lessons very young and then started auditioning for musicals at a local theatre company (and went from there).”
Those humble roots have served Perez well in what’s turned into a burgeoning career as an actress and singer. Her latest show business coup, in a string of them, occurred last month at Copley Symphony Hall. There, Perez took the stage in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,250 people as part of a tribute show to Frank Sinatra by Michael Feinstein, the legendary singer and pianist who is widely known as a champion of the Great American Songbook.
“I sang ‘It Never Was You’ and got to talk to Michael on stage before I sang and sort of warm-up, which was so fun,” Perez says. “Singing in front of that audience was an experience I will never forget. At the risk of sounding cheesy, it really was a dream come true. It was the largest venue I’ve performed in yet.”
Perez wound up on the Copley stage thanks to a mentorship with Feinstein, a person she describes as “extremely generous, nurturing, and a true inspiration.” Perez first met the Drama Desk award winner at the Songbook Academy, a week-long summer music intensive in jazz, musical theatre, and the American Songbook for teenagers.
“I auditioned last March and was chosen as one of 40 out of hundreds of applicants all around the United States,” says Perez, who wound up becoming one of the esteemed program’s top 10 finalists.
The experience was an invaluable one, with Feinsten taking to Perez’s talents. “He has spent almost his entire life championing the music of the Great American Songbook,” she explains. “Working with him is sort of surreal, he is so down to earth and funny. He knows exactly what to do and how to perfect each phrase and lyric to pull the audience in. I have learned so much from him and his showmanship and I’m endlessly grateful to call him a mentor.”
With her Copley debut behind her, Perez is currently focused on her senior year at Canyon Crest Academy, where she joined the Theater Conservatory her freshman year.
“CCA gave me such a unique and dynamic high school experience,” she says. “It’s a very creative environment full of spirited, dedicated, and highly academic students and I’ve gotten the chance to work on many different projects, artistic and otherwise.”
She’s also setting her sights beyond North County, recently auditioning for a bevy of BFA (bachelor of fine arts) musical theater programs. It was a process Perez calls “intense,” especially with her time at Canyon Crest soon coming to a close. “CCA will always feel like home, but I’m so excited to continue pursuing my passion for performing in college.”
Before her senior year wraps up, however, Perez is currently working toward her final performance as part of the CCA experience where she will take her final high school bow. “ I wrote a musical that takes place in World War II and is set to music from the American Songbook,” she explains. “The show performs in May, so everyone should come check it out!”