A Lyric Opera of Chicago dress rehearsal was interrupted this afternoon when a performer was seriously injured during a fire stunt, officials said.
The Chicago Fire Department was called to the Lyric, 20 N. Wacker Dr., about 4:50 p.m. to treat a burn victim, and took one person to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment, according to the Fire Department.
The man, 24, was initially in serious-to-critical condition when taken to Northwestern, after suffering burns to his throat and second-degree burns to his face while “spitting fire,” according to the Fire Department’s media office. Initially, it was thought he was not suffering breathing problems, but he was, and is being transferred to Loyola University Medical Center in critical condition, according to the Fire Department.
The actor, Wesley Daniel, is believed to have suffered injuries including blistering on his face, a spokeswoman for the Lyric said in an email. He was wearing a flame-proof constume and mask. The dress rehearsal was interrupted, but resumed and was in the last act of the Wagner opera “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg” by about 5:30 p.m.
The actor was a stilt-walker who was performing a stunt in which he appeared to spit fire–a stunt that had been approved by the Fire Department, according to the Lyric. After the accident, fire guards at the Lyric put out minor flames and the stage’s fire curtain was lowered, the Lyric said in a statement.
The Fire Department allowed the performance to continue after checking the building, but the effect has been removed from the production, according to the statement.
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