As 2019 draws to a close, TheaterMania looks back on some of the most jaw-dropping stories of the year.
Why do Almost, Maine for your school play when you can almost get eaten by an extraterrestrial? In March, the North Bergen High School drama club performed its own renegade stage adaptation of the 1979 sci-fi action film Alien. Using mostly found and recycled materials to create the sets and costumes, North Bergen brought the thriller to life, to the delight of the high school audience and fans of the movie worldwide.
Of course, some Internet-based killjoys were quick to quote chapter and verse of copyright law at the kids, as if Disney (which owns the rights to Alien) doesn't already have its own army of qualified lawyers. Hey, Twitter scolds: If Mickey needs free legal advice, I'm sure he'll DM you.
Wisely, Disney opted for grace and didn't sue anyone. Original star Sigourney Weaver congratulated the club on its ingenuity and director Ridley Scott donated $5,000 to mount an encore presentation in April. It was the right way to handle this situation: If we've learned anything from the To Kill a Mockingbird incident, it's that over-zealous enforcement of intellectual property rights can massively backfire in the realm of public relations.
In that spirit of generosity, we offer a complete recording of North Bergen High School's production of Alien: