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Sigourney Weaver visits NJ high school cast of Alien to tell them to break a leg and burst a chest

By Alexis Sottile
Sigourney Weaver Alien

By now you've probably heard that back in March, a New Jersey high school production of Alien made huge waves for both its incredible production value and its very existence. The North Bergen High School performance did, in real life, what the protagonist of Rushmore did for Serpico in Wes Anderson's 1998 scripted version of a reality in which high school drama kids bring a beloved 1970s film to exuberant life on a school auditorium stage.

The New Jersey play got noticed for its daring, drawing approving nods from both director Ridley Scott and star Sigourney Weaver, among many, many Alien fans. The one-night-only performance was so popular, in fact, that with the blessing of the film's creators, it was restaged last night in that very same space in honor of Alien Day, the 40th anniversary of the 1979 release of Scott's truckers-in-space masterpiece. And who better to float through that space than our hero Ripley herself, Sigourney Weaver, who traveled to New Jersey to surprise the kids backstage.

In the above video, shot by Nicholas J. Sacco, the mayor of North Bergen (also in attendance, of course), one can see the young actors standing in front of a celebratory sign that reads, "Break a leg! Burst a chest!" as Weaver says she is "representing all the Alien fans all over the universe who think what you're doing is so cool and so important."

Here's some more footage from the visit:

Broadway director Oliver Butler, whose current play What the Constitution Means to Me has just been nominated for a Tony Award (and which itself features a teenage actor and revolves around a woman's recollections from around the same age as the Alien cast), traveled to New Jersey himself with two friends to see the kids' work in person.

"I did high school theater," Butler tells SYFY WIRE, "so, one, I love the idea of kids throwing things together against all odds. And I actually sort of loved, even though I understand the copyright danger around the whole thing, I appreciated them just going and doing it, and the fact that in the end the forces of ownership didn't squash their dream, but actually reached out and said, 'Here, go ahead. Do it again.' It felt like a great homage to the spirit of the film, and to exactly what you want young theater people doing."

Later that evening, Sacco posted a second video, showing that representatives from the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts had also shown up, offering every teen actor there a $1,000 scholarship to their summer program, and every senior in the play a $10,000 scholarship to the school.

Chests were bursting with pride all across North Bergen, New Jersey.