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Law & Order Actress Jessica Phillips '89 Returns For May 7 Concert

Worcester Academy today announced that Broadway star and Academy alumna Jessica Phillips, Class of 1989, will hold a special concert at 2 p.m. May 7 to celebrate the completion of the new Worcester Academy Performance Center at 14 Marion Avenue in Worcester. Phillips will be in Worcester to rehearse for the show on the evening of April 11. She will also teach a master class for Worcester Academy students on April 12.
“We are excited to have Jessica returning to Worcester Academy to help us celebrate the opening of this state-of-the-art Performance Center,” said Head of School Ronald M. Cino.

Phillips, widely known for her recurring role as assistant district attorney “Pippa Cox” on NBC’s Law & Order, Special Victims Unit, will sing a selection of songs from her Broadway shows as well as a compilation of songs written by fellow Worcester Academy graduate, Cole Porter, Class of 1909.

Jessica Phillips graduated from Emerson College in Boston in 1994. She is best known on Broadway for her role as “Sheriff Marla” in Alan Menken’s Leap Of Faith, starring opposite Raul Esparza. Other Original Broadway Cast credits include “Marion” in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Pulitzer Prize winner Next To Normal; the 25th Anniversary revival of Jesus Christ Superstar; and The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1,2, & 3.  On television, viewers will recognize Jessica as the indefatigable assistant district attorney “Pippa Cox” on NBC’s Law & Order, Special Victims Unit for the last four seasons, as well as guest star appearances on Royal Pains (USA), Unforgettable (CBS), and pilots “The Ordained” (CBS) and “Bronx Warrants” (FX). She is featured as The Singer in the film La Vida Inesperada, premiering this year. Jessica was recently honored to perform as the guest vocalist for Broadway Today and Tomorrow in the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ 100th Anniversary celebration at the Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and appears on concert stages across the country.  In addition to her Broadway cast albums, Jessica can be found on iTunes singing with her country band, “10th & Carlisle.” She is mom to sons Jonah and Malcolm, what she calls her “greatest role to date.”
Formerly of Sutton, MA, Phillips has said that she found her voice during her four years at Worcester Academy where she first began performing in musicals. She said she is thrilled to return to WA and to shine a spotlight on the new facility and the enormously positive impact it is having on the school community.
“What an exciting time for Worcester Academy and for the lucky students and families who will benefit,” Phillips said.

The Performance Center, constructed from a former facility at the site of the old St. Vincent Hospital, is a milestone in the success of the school’s ongoing $50 million capital campaign – “ONWARD:The Campaign for Worcester Academy.” The $3.5 million theater features a flexible, 120-seat theater/multi purpose space, an adjacent lobby/gallery named the “Cole Porter Lobby, Worcester Academy Class of 1909,” and large bi-folding glass doors that open to the outdoors. The lobby is one of the few spaces in America named for Cole Porter, one of America’s greatest songwriters, who spent four years at Worcester Academy.
David Plante, new manager for the Worcester Academy Performance Center, said the building’s technical infrastructure offers a superior experience for students, faculty, and guests.
“The new lighting system features a mix of both traditional stage lighting and new LED theater lights,” Plante stated. “The sound system is absolutely state-of-the-art, and our students are training on professional equipment, preparing for what lies ahead in college and beyond.
“I’m thrilled. It’s a fantastic new resource, and I am excited the entire community can finally experience it,” he said.
Plante noted that the Worcester Academy Middle School had already staged one play, “Yettele’s Feathers,” in the space and that the High School would be presenting the musical, “Into the Woods,” on the same May weekend as Jessica Phillips’ Hilltop concert.
The Worcester Academy Performance Center is the first visual and performing arts building constructed by the Academy since Warner Theater was built in 1932. Architectural services for the project were provided by Schwartz/Silver Architects of Boston. The construction company was Worcester-based F.W. Madigan Company.
“ONWARD: The Campaign for Worcester Academy,” will conclude in June. The $50 million capital campaign has financed property acquisitions, new construction, select campus renovations, and increases to the endowment. The purchase of 15 acres of land at the former St. Vincent Hospital property along Providence Street in Worcester made way for the Performance Center’s construction.

Morse Field, located adjacent to the Performance Center, is also considered a milestone in the capital campaign. The award winning lighted synthetic field is used by the Academy community as well as neighborhood residents and groups. Neighborhood children and adults also have access to the field for play and for walking or jogging when not in use by the Academy.
Over the past several years, Worcester Academy has made many resources and facilities available to the neighborhood, and partnered with schools, city officials, the Oak Hill CDC, and others to improve the quality of life for its neighbors. WA students have also provided countless hours of community service in schools and at neighborhood organizations.
Worcester Academy initiatives have included:
  • Hosting the Greater Worcester Community Foundation 2016 Donor Appreciation Winter Supper at the Performance Center, making the GWCF the first city group to use the facility.
  • Morse Field – made available for recess and physical education for Union Hill School students. Worcester Academy’s seniors and postgraduates sponsor a springtime Spree Day at the field for Union Hill School students.
  • Other Facilities – The Union Hill Sixth Grade graduation has been held at Worcester Academy’s Warner Theater; Walker Hall hosted graduates of the Worcester Community Connections Coalition of YOU Inc. and the Worcester Family Partnership.
  • Habitat for Humanity – In March 2015, Worcester Academy donated property at 21 Aetna Street to Habitat for Humanity Metro-West/Greater Worcester (construction on a duplex has begun). In 2006, Worcester Academy’s own Habitat for Humanity Chapter built a duplex on nearby Perry Avenue.
  • Neighborhood Scholars Program – Seven neighborhood students attend Worcester Academy for free (one student in each grade at WA) as part of the Neighborhood Scholars Program.
  • The Union Hill School Library Project – a WA student-led program that saw the creation of a Union Hill School library through gifts, donations, and labor.
  • Revolving Loan Fund – Made available as low-interest loans to homeowners for improvements to properties.
  • Worcester Academy Summer Scholars Program – a free four-week academic camp for 25+ neighborhood children
  • Summer Camp Scholarships – free tuition for 35 students to the Academy’s sports and arts camps.
Worcester Academy, founded in 1834, is an independent co-ed day and boarding school for grades 6 to 8 (Middle School), 9 to 12 (High School), and postgraduates. Our urban setting, diverse community, and innovative curriculum provide each student with unique opportunities for self-discovery, academic achievement, and personal empowerment. Visit us at

For more information, contact Neil Isakson, director of external communications, at 508-754-5302 x135, or e-mail

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