As high schools across the country continue to do the same awkward version of Shrek: The Musical, teachers Perfecto Cuervo and Steven Defandini of North Bergen High School in New Jersey decided to do something very different. They decided to create Alien: The Play. What resulted from the English and Art teacher’s creation is a viral success that caught the Internet’s attention this week, and unlike most things that exist online, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive—so much so that Sigourney Weaver herself has chimed in with praise.
Even though it only had a two-night run on March 19 and 22, the production has been gaining traction on the internet this week. Alien: The Play was written by Cuervo and Defandini over the course of about a month-and-a-half following the success of their 2018 adaptation of Night of the Living Dead. According to the New York Times, Cuervo and Defendini put the production together for about $3,500 and the rest has been pure internet magic. The role of Ripley went to Gabriella Delacruz, a senior who noted to the Times, “She’s a female character who’s really portrayed as the hero at the end. She isn’t the damsel in distress. She got to be a badass, if I’m allowed to say that.” Hell yeah, girl. And what started as a promotional trailer for the performance has now been viewed over 300,000 times.
Since the premiere, real Hollywood has been catching wind of the production, with everyone from Patton Oswalt to the official Alien anthology page offering praise. But nothing tops Sigourney herself complimenting the production.
In a video posted today, Weaver sends compliments on behalf of herself, James Cameron (who directed 1986’s Aliens), and the team around the original Alien (directed by Ridley Scott). And because old habits die hard, she warns that the alien might still be around “so when you’re opening your locker, just do it very slowly.”
Even though the production has had its curtain call, I’d bet that just like the film it’s adapted from, Alien: The Play is far from over. Maybe Cuervo and Defendini can try to take on another Ridley Scott classic next. Blade Runner: The Play, anyone?