Grace Kaufman talks about her role on the CBS series “Man with a Plan”

Teen actress Grace Kaufman has appeared in a variety of television shows including “The Closer” “2 Broke Girls” and the “The Last Ship”. Graces newest role has her playing opposite Matt LeBlanc in the CBS hit comedy “Man with a Plan”. Media Mikes has the chance to speak with Grace recently about her role on the show and also about her new film “Brave New Jersey”.

Adam Lawton: Tell us about your role on “Man with a Plan” and how the role came about?

Grace Kaufman: I play Kate Burns on the show. She is a very fun role to play because not only does she have a little bit of sass along with some rebellious qualities but she also really loves her family. That’s where I feel I connect with the role. Kate can be disobedient but loving at the same time. I had heard about the role by going through the normal auditioning process. I got the script and immediately fell in the love with my character Kate. I knew she was definitely a role I wanted to play. After my first audition I received a call back and that’s when I met Matt LeBlanc for the first time. That was very exciting for me as I have always loved his work. I found out shortly after reading with him that I had gotten the role and I was just over the moon about it.

AL: Was the role fairly laid out when it was presented to you or were you allowed to develop certain traits
of the character on your own?

GK: There were definitely some parts of the character that were already set ahead of time but, I also brought in my own set of traits and personality to the character. I think that’s what makes things more natural. I was very grateful for the opportunity to do that I was able to explore the character of Kate and really get to know her as well.

AL: What has it been like working alongside Matt LeBlanc?

GK: When I first met Matt at the initial call back it was like meeting one of your idols. I loved him on “Friends” and I have enjoyed his other work as well. Matt is very talented and a brilliant actor. To be in the same room and read with him was such a cool experience. Just being there was very exciting. We did our read through and there was some notes they gave me for the next read and everything just went from there.

AL: The show recently got picked up for a full run. What do you feel makes “Man with a Plan” stand out from other family based comedies?

GK: I feel like the show is not only one that’s fun for the whole family to watch but one that every member can relate to. I feel like a lot of the situations that happen on the show are things that happen to real families. That’s what I think makes the show so special and enjoyable for families to sit down and watch together.

AL: Was this your first experience filming in-front of a live studio audience?

GK: I have done some guest starring roles on shows which film in front of live audiences so I had some experience with that going in to this show. This was my first show that I was a series regular on where there would be a live audience. Even though I had done guests spots before in similar settings it was still very exciting and a bit nerve racking. The more we work in-front of the audience the more I have been able to see that they are not there to judge us. They are there to support us and laugh with us. Knowing that has made me start to feel very comfortable in-front of them now.

AL: You also recently had a film premier at the Austin Film Festival. Can you tell us about that?

GK: The film is called “Brave New Jersey”. I filmed that about a year ago in Tennessee. It was a lot of fun as I had never been to that state before nor had I ever done a period piece. The film takes place in the late 1930’s on the night of Orson Wells “War of the Worlds” broadcast. It’s set in a small town in Lullaby, NJ which overhears the broadcast and assumes real aliens are in-fact invading. The premise is based around if you know you only have one night to live what would you do? Having never done something like this before it was a lot of fun and I got to work with some really great people that I learned a lot from.

AL: What are your plans for the coming year?

GK: We start filming “Man with a Plan” again in January so I have that to look forward to. I also have a role on the show “The Last Ship” which is on TNT that just got picked up for a fifth season. I start working on that in April. I have been working on that show for about four years now so I am very excited that we are coming back for another season. The cast and crew have become like a family to me there. It’s quite different than “Man with a Plan” but they are both special to me in different ways. Shooting this fifth season is going to be really great.

For more info on Grace and her projects you can check out her various social media accounts at @ImGraceKaufman

Concert Review: Laura Jane Grace and The Devouring Mothers

Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers, David Dondero

Date: Saturday, February 20th 2016

Venue: The Waiting Room, Buffalo, NY

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Against Me! Front woman Laura Jane Grace made a stop at the intimate Waiting Room in Buffalo, NY on Feb 20th as part of a brief 8 show acoustic tour with her group the Devouring Mothers. Also on the bill for these handful of shows was veteran singer song writer Dave Dondero. The night was part storytelling and part music as both set of performers aimed to provide the audience with a nights worth of entertainment.

As fans were still making their way up the twisted steps of the dual stage venue opening act Dave Dondero took the stage for a less than energetic set. At several points through the 30/40 minute set Dondero asked the crowd if they were actually interested in hearing him play and if not he was ok with leaving. At first what seemed like a joke carried on throughout the remainder of Dondero’s unprofessional and lack luster set.

As the room began steadily filling in Laura Jane and the Devouring Mothers (a group made up of Against Me! drummer Atom Willard and producer/ bassist Marc Hudson) would take the stage and blast through over 20 acoustic renditions of some of Against Me’s material both new and old. In between such songs as “Tonight We’re Gonna Give It 35%” and “Androgynous” Grace read entries from her upcoming book which will be made of countless journal entries and experiences. The set by Laura Jane and company was like a cooler version of “VH1’s Storytellers”. The set was a nice mixture of both new and old tracks which provided something for the various levels of fans the packed the intimate club setting. Missing from the set however was the song “500 Years” which was released in 2014 as a Record Store Day limited edition 7”. Despite this being the perfect setting for the somber number other tracks like “Because of the Shame” and “Two Coffins” filled the void nicely and, despite the of the night being a bit rocky Laura Jane, Atom and Marc did a great job as they more than made it up to the Buffalo fans.

Set List:
1.) Ache With Me
2.) Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
3.) Tonight We’re Gonna Give It 35%
4.) You Look Like You Need a Drink
5.) Sink, Florida, Sink
6.) I Keep Forgettin’
7.) Pretty Girls (The Mover)
8.) How Low
9.) Searching for a Former Clarity
10.) Joy
11.) Androgynous (Replacements Cover)
12.) The Ocean
13.) Harsh Realms
14.) Conceptual Paths
15.) Because of the Shame
16.) Two
17.) True Trans Soul Rebel
18.) Bamboo Bones
19.) Transgender Dysphoria Blues
20.) Black Me Out
(Plus 2 song Encore)


Grace Phipps talks about her new film, “Some Kind of Hate” and TV’s “Scream Queens”

Texas-born Grace Phipps is best known for her work on the ABC Family show “The Nine Lives of Chloe King” and as April Young on “The Vampire Diaries.”

This month she can be seen on both the big and small screen. Her new film, “Some Kind of Hate,” opened this week in theatres while her latest television project, “Scream Queens,” debuts on September 22. Grace took time out from her schedule to talk about her new projects.

Mike Smith: Give us a quick introduction to Kaitlin, your character in “Some Kind of Hate.”
Grace Phipps: Kaitlin is the typical American cheerleader turned sour. She was very fun to play. It’s not often that you get to play a complicated, and occasionally unlikable, character.

MS: Is that something that drew you to the role?
GP: Yes. It was a good script. When you get a good script that’s something remarkable.

MS: You seem to be drawn to these types of roles. You’ve done “Vampire Diaries” and now you’re about to appear in “Scream Queens.” Intentional?
GP: I don’t think I really do that. But I do like working with a lot of different circumstances. You don’t normally wake up to terrible things, so it’s much more fun to do that then be the girl working at the bank or opening and closing her locker. But a good script…a different script…helps spark a conversation.

MS: You’re appearing in the upcoming series “Scream Queens.” Is that going to be a recurring role? And, if so, can you talk about it?
GP: I don’t think I’m allowed to say. I don’t even get the complete script. I can tell you that, with what I’ve read and seen, the show is going to be absolutely brilliant. A lot of the crew are the same I worked with when I was doing “The Nine Lives of Chloe King.” It looks really, really good.

Grace Anna Highlights the 2nd Annual Salute Our Heroes Gala

Several years ago while shopping for a greeting card I stumbled over one that read something like this, “once in a while you meet someone who leaves a footprint on your heart and you are never ever the same.” I have had the privilege of this happening twice in my life; my husband 10 years ago and, in 2013, a little girl name Grace Anna. The one difference is, up until this weekend, I had never actually met Grace Anna but had only knew her through Facebook. Scrolling through Facebook one night I saw a video a friend had posted of this sweet little girl singing the National Anthem, I was captured.

How did this little girl who could only be about 2 years old, certainly no more than 3, know the words to the national anthem so well?

Grace Anna is the daughter of Angie and Jeff Rodgers and they reside in Kentucky. Grace Anna has a rare form of dwarfism called Conradi Hunermann Syndrome and has dealt with such health issues as being born blind due to cataracts, severe kyphosis and scoliosis of the spine. Doctors tried to persuade her parents to abort on five different occasions, but this was not something they would consider. Grace Anna has overcome many obstacles in her now 4 year old life.

Grace Anna and her mother, Angie Rogers

Grace Anna began singing at only 16 months, and she loves to sing.

The “Grace Anna Sings” Facebook page, at the time of this writing, has over 600,000 followers. She has changed lives; she has lifted her followers out of their worst days and thousands have posted how much they love this child. It is hard to explain how you can love someone you have never met but Grace Anna has such spirit and personality that I don’t know that it needs to be explained. I often watch her video of “Amazing Grace” before going to bed each night, and recently my hope of meeting this wonder came to fruition.

Grace Anna and her family were traveling to Topeka, Kansas to attend the Military Veteran Project’s 2nd Annual Salute Our Heroes Gala, where she would be singing the National Anthem.  Grace Anna’s family are strong supporters of our military and have family members who have served.

The mission of the Military Veterans Project is “to advocate, educate, and honor our military veterans and families through program support.” The program has assisted veterans and service members with medical advocacy, PTSD treatments, suicide prevention and other services. The Military Veteran Project was created by Melissa Jarboe in honor of her late husband, Sgt. Jamie Jarboe. For more information on the project please go to www.militaryveteranproject.org

The guest speaker for the evening was Bobby Henline, a veteran of Desert Storm who re-enlisted after Sept 11th, 2001. While serving in Iraq the Humvee he was in was hit by a roadside bomb; he was the only survivor out of 5 men. Bobby suffered severe burns over 38% of his body, lost his left hand and had over 40 surgeries while being hospitalized for 6 months. Bobby now does motivational speaking and stand-up comedy. The gala included a cocktail hour, dinner, and a silent auction of a wide variety of donated items, which raised approximately $3000 for the project.

Grace Anna, dressed in a beautiful red dress, black jacket, and matching red bow in her hair sang the National Anthem with as much heart and soul as a child can muster. After dinner was served at the gala Grace Anna’s older brother, Isaiah, carried her out into the lobby area.  As they walked by I said to Grace Anna, “Hi, Grace Anna, my name is Juanita, can I shake your hand?” She responded, in the sweetest, softest voice, “Hi Juanita.” I thought she would shake my hand but what she did next left me in tears. She did not shake my hand but leaned over, kissed me on the cheek, then took my face in her hands and said “now, you give me a kiss” I gave her a kiss on the cheek.

If you have not had the privilege of watching her videos, reading her web page or seeing her pictures that are posted on Facebook, you must treat yourself. Your heart will be captured.

www.graceannasings.com

 www.facebook.com/GraceAnnaSings