On Aug. 6, Damian, 31, who plays Mr. Nice Guy Danny Romalotti on the CBS daytime serial The Young and the Restless, was promoting his new album, Time of the Season, at Lucky Peak State Park, 10 miles southeast of Boise, Idaho. Crooning before 8,000 fans, Damian was less than a minute into his first number, the album's title track, when Mark Pina, 23, a Boise resident, rushed the ground-level stage. Shouting obscenities, Pina, 5'9", 175 lbs., lunged at the 6', 175-lb. soap hunk. "He knocked me over like a pin in a bowling alley," says Damian, who suffered bruised ribs, a cut knee and whiplash. "He was pulling my hair and choking me. I could hardly breathe." It took four men—two off-duty cops, a stagehand and a radio deejay—and two sprays of Mace to pry Pina off the singer.
Shaken, Damian still managed to perform five songs. "I was frightened and embarrassed," he says, "but I wasn't going to let this guy stop me."
Police described the assailant as "extremely intoxicated." But because Damian suffered only minor injuries and no weapon was involved, Pina was charged with misdemeanor battery, instead of a felony, and released on $300 bail. If found guilty at his Sept. 21 trial, Pina could receive a $1,000 fine and a year in prison. His only comment: "It was something I needed to do."
"It's sad when you have to watch your back," says Damian, whose doctor ordered him to cancel the remaining 13 stops on his tour to calm his nerves. Last week, though, Damian was back onstage—in Chicago—filling in until Aug. 25 for Donny Osmond as the hero of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a role Damian has played on Broadway.
"When I used to read about performers being stalked," he says, "I'd think, 'I'm so lucky nothing has ever happened to me.' Now I know it can happen to anyone."