On Fire
Hollywood Finds The Firecrackers

Dana Bezman

D. Bezmen

Starting two decades ago as a small gym-class project, the Kings Firecrackers have officially bloomed into an international phenomenon, and Hollywood has come calling.

About a year ago, coach Lynn Kelley was approached with the idea of turning the jump-rope team’s act into a movie. She accepted.

Preliminary filming took place this summer, and Kelley invited all Firecracker alumni to participate. She said roughly 120 of the 160 Firecracker families assisted in the movie making.

The writer and two producers from Los Angeles came to Kings and filmed a crowd-funding video as well as the sizzler. A “sizzler” is the Hollywood term for the short preview that will be sent to actors in hopes of catching their attention, the sizzler will help promote the movie.

Contrary to popular belief, this movie is not going to be a documentary, but a fictionalized story based on the Firecrackers. Filming is scheduled to the begin next summer at the latest. This movie will be like “The Blind Side,” a movie based on true events with real actors.

Every girl who appeared at the preliminary filming this summer was interviewed, and producers plan to play these “real” interviews during the film’s opening and closing credits. This year’s Firecrackers were also filmed walking down the halls of the high school, as of they were about to appear for a performance.

Kelsi Schumacher, a Kings senior and former Firecracker who was interviewed this summer for the film, said she is excited.

“I’m interested to see how the movie turns out, it’s exciting to think about the Firecrackers on the big screen,” Schumacher said.

Kelley created the Firecrackers in 1994 because of the limited opportunities at South Lebanon when she first became a physical education teacher there. She started a physical education show that included a jump rope act, then added music to it.

“We were always adding things to the show and eventually it evolved into the Firecrackers,” she said.

The rest is history. Since then, the Firecrackers have appeared at venues across the country including The Macy’s Day Parade, The David Letterman Show, the Inaugural Parade for George W. Bush’s presidency, and countless professional sports halftime shows.

In order to remain on the Firecrackers team the girls need to maintain good grades, show exemplary character, take an etiquette class as well as a public speaking class and show appreciation for the community.

The success and fame of the Kings Firecrackers has launched a slew of similar jump-rope teams across the country, but Kelley said the Firecrackers are unique.

“What sets us apart from other jump rope teams is that we’re a performance team, not a competitive team,” she said.

– The team’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/FirecrackersThe

– The Facebook page for the movie: https://www.facebook.com/FirecrackersTheMovie

– The Firecrackers website is kingsfirecrackers.com

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