The North Bergen High School play, a stage adaptation of the 1979 sci-fi film Alien, has become a viral sensation in recent weeks, and even Lieutenant Ellen Ripley took notice. According to a report by ABC News, Weaver visited the school for its final showing of Alien: The Play on Friday night, letting the students know how impressed she was with their work.
In on viral clip from backstage, camera crews caught the moment that Weaver arrived, greeting the star-struck cast and crew and showering them in compliments.
Students, and stars of North Bergen High School's viral "Alien: The Play" put on a special performance for the 40th anniversary of the original film, with a surprise guest in attendance – Ellen Ripley herself, Sigourney Weaver. https://t.co/4b8UezFwiX pic.twitter.com/GLKpF144SB— ABC News (@ABC) April 27, 2019
"I'm so excited to be here!" she said. "I am representing all of the Alien family all over the universe. I think what you're doing is so cool, and so important."
Weaver took the stage later as well, addressing the audience packed in for the surprise final performance. The drama club at North Bergen High had just enough money to put on the play twice back in March, but after it went viral on social media, director Ridley Scott gifted them $5,000 for this performance.
The role of Ripley was played by senior Gabriella Delacruz in the play. She spoke to reporters about the surreal experience of meeting Weaver, and of playing such a lasting and iconic character.
"I really can't believe it," she said. "Playing Ripley, honestly, has been such an honor, just considering how monumental her character was in moving forward strong women roles."
"Our one girl that plays Ripley was just hugging her, she couldn't believe it," added the play's director, Perfecto Cuervo. "It was great. It was pretty awesome; it's just a great validation of what we did today."
Weaver had previously praised the play on Twitter, where photos and videos of its elaborate sets and costumes went viral. She addressed the students in a video, saying: "It looked incredible. You put so much heart and soul into that. And the alien, I must say, looked very real."
"You know the alien might still be around," she added jokingly. "So when you're opening your locker, just do it very slowly."
The students involved in the play have each received a $1,000 scholarship to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts summer camp. In addition, all of the graduating seniors received a $10,000 scholarship towards college. The kids also got a letter of praise from Scott, which Cuervo posted online.
"My hat comes off to all of your creativity, imagination and determination to produce such an ambitious show," he wrote. "Limitations often produce the best results because imagination and determination can surpass any shortfalls and determine the way forward — ALWAYS."