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Lyric Opera actor hurt during fire-breathing stunt

A 24-year-old performer was burned on-stage Monday during a Lyric Opera House dress rehearsal.

Wesley Daniel is hospitalized in serious to critical condition, at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

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The show will go on for the actor who was burned doing a fire stunt at The Lyric Opera.

Wesley Daniel was cast as a fire spitting stilt walker in a fair scene from Richard Wagner’s opera, Die Meistersinger.

He suffered second degree burns to his face while attempting the stunt during a dress rehearsal back on February 4th.

Daniel will return to the show as an understudy for one of the stilt walkers he was originally cast to play.

The actor who was injured in a Lyric Opera fire stunt gone wrong was released from  the hospital Thursday afternoon.

Doctors say Wesley Daniel, 24, was extremely fortunate not to suffer injuries to his eyes when a fireball flared up in front of his face.

The young actor and acrobat was in a dress rehearsal at the Lyric Opera Monday when a fire-breathing sequence went bad, according to eyewitness accounts, briefly lighting his face mask and neck area on fire.

The young actor instantly dropped off his stilts and rolled on the stage to extinguish himself.  Stage crew members quickly came to his aid, running on stage with fire extinguishers.

Paramedics were there in a matter of minutes.  He was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious to critical condition with second degree burns to his face and neck area, and later transferred to the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center.

He had a breathing tube inserted for a period of time.  There was concern that maybe he had damaged his airway or his lungs, but that does not appear to be the case.

His father, who was at the dress rehearsal, says Wesley is very hoarse right now and having a difficult time talking.  He still has bandages around his face.

Doctors say he will not suffer any permanent scarring.

There is no word yet when or if he plans to return to the Lyric Opera production that opens Friday.

Actor Wesley Daniel, 24, who was injured in a stunt gone wrong on the stage of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, will be going home from the hospital soon.

Doctors say Daniel was extremely fortunate not to suffer injuries to his eyes when a fireball flared up in front of his face.

He is still at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood but doctors say he will soon be released.

“Probably by about six months from now this will just be a bad memory,” Dr. Arthur Sanford told reporters today during a conference at the hospital.

“Wesley is in good spirts,” said his father, Clifton Daniel.  “We’re going to take him home and let him eat what he wants, and let him watch what he wants.”

Daniel’s father is more than ready to bring his son home.  And Wesley is ready to watch his favorite TV shows and relax and recupate at home, after three nights in the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center.

The young actor and acrobat was in a dress rehearsal at the Lyric Opera Monday when a fire-breathing sequence went bad, according to eyewitness accounts, briefly lighting his face mask and neck area on fire.

The young actor instantly dropped off his stilts and rolled on the stage to extinguish himself.  Stage crew members quickly came to his aid, running on stage with fire extinguishers.

Paramedics were there in a matter of minutes.  He was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious to critical condition with second degree burns to his face and neck area, and later transferred to the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center.

He had a breathing tube inserted for a period of time.  There was concern that maybe he had damaged his airway or his lungs, but that does not appear to be the case.

His father, who was at the dress rehearsal, says Wesley is very hoarse right now and having a difficult time talking.  He still has bandages around his face.

Doctors say he will not suffer any permanent scarring.

There is no word yet when or if he plans to return to the Lyric Opera production that opens tomorrow.

Wesley Daniel was performing a flame spitting stunt during a dress rehearsal at the Lyric Opera on Monday when he accidentally burned his face.

Daniel was taken to the hospital in serious to critical condition, now doctors say Daniel has improved enough to be released as early as Wednesday.

His doctors are comparing his second degree burns to a severe sunburn.

Daniel’s fire stunt has since been cut from the show, which opens Friday.

The Occupation Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.

The father of the actor who was injured when a fire-breathing stunt went wrong was actually in the Lyric Opera’s audience when it happened.

Clifton Daniel told the Chicago Tribune it was horrifying to see his son appear to catch fire.

There’s a huge sense of relief at Chicago’s Lyric Opera.  They tell WGN that as soon as Thursday, Wesley Daniel could be released from Loyola University Medical Center, where he’s being treated for second-degree burns to the face.

Daniels father telling the Trib that there’s no damage to Wesley’s lungs and there shouldn’t be any scarring.

Daniel is a fire-breathing acrobat who can walk on stilts, which is exactly what he was doing Monday afternoon when the scary incident occurred. An incident that certainly left a mark on fellow actors , singers and musicians.

Soprano singer Sheryl Veal says from her vantage point on the stage, it looked to her like Wesley’s flame retardant mask very briefly  caught on fire, maybe for a few seconds, although Lyric Opera officials contend that he was merely singed by the fireball directly in front of his face.

The incident comes just a week after another player at the Lyric Opera suffered a minor singh to his handle bar mustache.  As a result of the mishaps, Lyric Opera directors have removed the fire sequences from the performance.

In attendance at Tuesday night’s dress rehearsal will be inspectors with OSHA, who are watching the Lyric Opera’s safety procedures are they investigate Monday’s  incident.

The father of the actor who was injured Monday during a dress rehearsal at the Lyric Opera of Chicago says he could return home from the hospital as soon as Thursday.

Actor Wesley Daniel’s father says his 24-year-old son only suffered second degree burns to his lips when a fire-breathing stunt went wrong.  Daniel’s father says the actor’s lungs and airways are fine and that he is going to be okay.

A Chicago Tribune photographer was in the audience and captured the moment the flames flared up.

Wesley Daniel plays a fire-breathing stilt-walker in the Lyric Opera’s production of “Die Meistersinger”.  Witnesses say he had just taken a swig of fuel and was attempting to spit fireballs when his mask caught on fire.

“There was flames flying off of him onto the ground, there was flames on the stage, so it was pretty dramatic,” witness Sherry Ochoa said.

The cast was about 5 hours into a 5 1/2 hour dress rehearsal.  About 1,000 people were in the theater, watching and wondering what was going on, including mefire-breathing-actormbers of the Lyric Opera family.

But Lyric officials say they were prepared, just in case something did go wrong.

“The actor moved off to stage left,” said Rich Regan, the Lyric Opera Director of Facilities.  “There are fire guards on stage that took control of the situation.  Emergency personnel were called and the fire curtain was brought in.”

The Lyric Opera says Wesley Daniel was wearing a flame-proof costume and mask, and that the stunt had been approved by the Chicago Fire Department.  They say there was also video of last night’s accident that has been turned over to the Chicago Fire Department for its investigation.

WGN has also learned there was another incident last week involving a different actor performing the same stunt.  He was not hurt as seriously, but it also raises concerns about this stunt — which is probably why the Lyric Opera has decided to remove it from the performance when the show opens on Friday.

A 24-year-old performer was burned on-stage Monday during a Lyric Opera House dress rehearsal. danielwesley

Wesley Daniel is hospitalized in serious to critical condition, at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

Daniel was attempting to spit out fire balls, when his face caught fire.

He was wearing a fireproof mask and costume, but he still suffered second degree burns to his face and inside his throat.

It happened in front of a thousand people, including a Chicago tribune photographer. The stage was packed at the time with other young performers, including Sherry Ochoa’s daughter.

“I was really excited, then all of a sudden…” Ochoa said “flames!”

“Yeah– that happens. And they were on the stage and somebody was stomping them out.”

The Lyric Opera Director of Facilities, Rich Regan said “The actor moved off to stage left, there are fire guards on stage that took control of the situation, emergency personnel were called and the fire curtain was brought in.”

Video from the web of what the stunt is supposed to look shows an actor breathing fire and stilt-walking simultaneously. It is a bit elaborate.

The misstep happened five hours into a five and an half-hour opera, a full dress rehearsal of the Wagner comedy Die Meistersinger.

Some audience members emerging from the opera house still a bit shaken.  Audience member Angela Allyn said she just hopes the performer is OK.

The Lyric Opera says that Daniel’s stunt had been approved by the Chicago Fire Department.

ACT lyric07.JPG 24-year-old performer was burned on-stage Monday during a Lyric Opera House dress rehearsal.

Wesley Daniel is hospitalized in serious to critical condition, at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

Daniel was attempting to spit out fire balls, when his face caught fire.

He was wearing a fireproof mask and costume, but he still suffered second degree burns to his face and inside his throat.

It happened in front of a thousand people, including a Chicago tribune photographer. The stage was packed at the time with other young performers, including Sherry Ochoa’s daughter.

“I was really excited, then all of a sudden…” Ochoa said “flames!”

“Yeah– that happens. And they were on the stage and somebody was stomping them out.”

pod4lyricThe Lyric Opera Director of Facilities, Rich Regan said “The actor moved off to stage left, there are fire guards on stage that took control of the situation, emergency personnel were called and the fire curtain was brought in.”

Video from the web of what the stunt is supposed to look shows an actor breathing fire and stilt-walking simultaneously. It is a bit elaborate.

The misstep happened five hours into a five and an half-hour opera, a full dress rehearsal of the Wagner comedy Die Meistersinger.

Some audience members emerging from the opera house still a bit shaken.  Audience member Angela Allyn said she just hopes the performer is OK.

The Lyric Opera says that Daniel’s stunt had been approved by the Chicago Fire Department.

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