'Daniel Boone' really 'burns' actor


HARRODSBURG - How many pioneers does it take to light one settler safely? If you're working with "Daniel Boone, The Man and the Legend," it takes just about everyone to make sure the "burn stunt" happens safely.

And according to "Boone" managing producer, the "blazing stunt" is unlike any other performed in live theater.

This year's burn victim is Andrew Ray, who plays James Harrod. He may be the one afire, but Chris McIntyre, who portrays Jonathan, is there to throw him in the pond to douse the flames, and jump in with him. "I'm a safety consultant," McIntyre says.

Backup safety is provided by Scott Hancock, who plays Malcolm Worley.

Also on the scene is Shannon Andrews, who plays Daniel Boone this year but who was the burn victim for the past two seasons.

"I've been set on fire 140 times," Andrews says. "My job in the show (with the burn stunt) is to make sure he does OK. ... It's not a job you can do halfway."


Henry Layton, fight director for "Boone," is the man in charge of the whole stunt. In his fourth year in that capacity, Layton is a trained utility stuntman with the United Stuntman's Association, and an advanced actor/combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors.

Chris Tamez is the fight captain who sets Ray afire during the show. Tamez makes sure Ray actually lights, and that the torches don't get stuck in Ray's vest.

Three pyrotechnicians are involved

There also are three pyrotechnicians involved: Robby Jacobs, the head pyro; Jay Kerr, who plays Judge Todd; and Richard Kirkpatrick.

Joy Parks, who portrays Rebecca Boone, also is the head costume technician for "Boone." She is in charge of Ray's costume, which must be comprised of 100 percent cotton or natural fibers.

"Or it will melt on his body," Parks says. "Natural fibers and cotton with burn into oblivion rather than melting."

Different layers comprise Ray's costume, she explains. The first is a 100 percent cotton, long-sleeved shirt that is soaked in water. The second is similar, except it is soaked in "fire stunt gel." Yet another shirt is soaked in 50-50 flame retardant.

Then, Ray dons a 100 percent cotton vest that has a large weave on the front and a tight weave on the side. Rubber cement is painted on the vest - and only on the vest - in the desired burn pattern, Parks adds. Ray's pants also are 100 percent cotton.

Technical director Amy Boehmer paints the burn pattern on the vest. The pattern is about 2 1/2 inches wide, and runs from the middle of the chest, around the sides and about an inch away from the spine.

Ray must apply gel all over his head, arms, hands and neck to keep the heat away from his face, Boehmer adds.

Director Tim Davis sits in the audience area of the amphitheatre and watches the burn stunt. There never has been a problem with that stunt, he says. "Nothing has gone wrong."

"It's very, very safe, which is our number one priority," Davis notes. "We make sure every detail is attended to.

It looks really cook," he adds. "The audience loves it."

Sometimes the burn is left out

Sometimes the burn is left out, if weather conditions are not good or the actor is hurt. But it stays in as much as possible.

"It's a crowd-pleaser," Davis says. "I don't know of any other outdoor programs who do (a stunt) like this."

Davis came to "Boone" in 1996 as an actor, and returned in 2001. He took over as director of the outdoor drama last season.

In 2001, "Boone" had a new script, which Davis likes, he says. That's when the body burn was added. Before that, an arm was burned, Davis notes.

When he came in as director last year, with Tuttle as stage manager, Davis decided to "open the show up a bit."

"We use some more of the space," he explains, adding he always has been a fan of the show. "We use exits further up the path. It's a more 'surround' experience.

"This year, the show is a little bigger, with extra characters (in scenes). The dances are expanded and made bigger, and they're livelier. It's a bigger, better, more entertaining cast."

A number of Lexington actors are in this year's cast, an unusual move for "Boone."

"We hope that translates to more Lexington audiences," Davis notes.

The cast is working day and night to be ready for the Friday opening.

"The actors need to get their stuff together in a two-week period," Davis explains. "It's a very limited time to get stuff together."

If you want to go

"Daniel Boone, The Man and the Legend" runs at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, beginning this Friday and ending Aug. 21. It costs $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for children 5-12 and $5 for children 4 and under. For reservations, call (800) 852-6663. It's web site is

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