Actor Burned At Lyric Opera Released From Hospital

Wesley Daniel suffered second-degree burns around his mouth when a flame-throwing stunt went wrong

Thursday, Feb 7, 2013  |  Updated 7:01 PM CDT
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Wesley Daniel's dad says his son is days away from fully regaining his voice but is expected to make a full recovery. Kim Vatis reports.

Wesley Daniel's dad says his son is days away from fully regaining his voice but is expected to make a full recovery. Kim Vatis reports.

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Burn Surgeon on Actor's Prognosis

Loyola University Medical Center burn surgeon Dr. Arthur Sanford says Wesley Daniel's burn should be a distant memory in about six months.

Father: Actor Not Keen on Doing Stunt Again

Clifton Daniel talks about the Lyric Opera fire-spitting trick that left his son with second-degree burns.
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A stilt walker who was burned during a dress rehearsal Monday at Lyric Opera of Chicago has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery in short order.

"Six months from now this will just be a bad memory," said Dr. Arthur Sanford, a burn surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center. "He probably won't see any residual marks."

Actor Wesley Daniel suffered second-degree burns to his face and throat while performing in “Die Meistersinger von Nurenberg" in front of an audience. Daniel staggered away and collapsed just off stage just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. A stage manager with a fire extinguisher then put out spots of fire onstage.

"You don't believe it," Daniel's father, Clifton Daniel, said during a press event at the hospital on Thursday. "Your child is on fire and then lunging for the side of the stage and it looks like his whole head and his chest are in flames."

A photo released of Daniel showed his mouth and neck covered in the bandages. In the photo, he's giving an "OK" gesture with his left hand, which is also bandaged.

Still, while the 24-year-old, a great-grandson to President Harry Truman, is in good spirits, he still has difficulty speaking.

"To save him, there had to be fire extinguishers in his face, so he's got some irritation. He's healed, but he's still kind of raspy," said Clifton Daniel.

At this point, family members said it's just too soon to know if the actor will perform the stunt again.

Daniel's former acting professor at Roosevelt University described the actor as a professional performer who was not new to physical stunts.

"Theater is dangerous, but he's a very professional performer," said David Kersnar. "He's trained for working with fire skills and circus performance and has performed it many times, and he's also performed very daring flips and all sorts of stuff with other productions that I've done."

The show is expected to go on Friday without the pyrotechnics.

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