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NPR Arts & Life

Cristin Milioti: She Came From New Jersey

Cristin Milioti, star of the Broadway show <em>Once</em>.
Cristin Milioti, star of the Broadway show <em>Once</em>.

They say you can take the Girl out of Jersey, but you can't...you know how the rest goes. Lucky for Cherry Hill, NJ native Cristin Milioti, she's full of hometown pride. But you wouldn't surmise Milioti's Garden State roots from watching her in her 2012 Tony Award-nominated role as "Girl" in the Broadway musical Once, in which she spoke and sang entirely in a convincing Czech accent.

"I've been in a lot of bad things, and I was pretty sure [<em>Once</em>] was far too good to go anywhere."
Josh Rogosin / NPR
"I've been in a lot of bad things, and I was pretty sure [<em>Once</em>] was far too good to go anywhere."

Milioti joined host Ophira Eisenberg on the Ask Me Another stage to discuss her love of and ease with dialects (she once played West Side Story's Maria as a Russian), as well as the whirlwind ascension of Once. Milioti explained how she learned to play the piano in ten days in order to nail the role of "Girl", and why she still hasn't seen the original film.

That hometown pride came in handy for Milioti's Ask Me Another Challenge, when we pitted her against a fellow Jersey-bred contestant in a game about the fascinating people and ingenious inventions that were birthed by the state. Who boasted ultimate N.J. knowledge? This competition heated up quicker than the Seaside Heights boardwalk on a summer's day.

About Cristin Milioti

While Once marks Milioti's musical debut, she has performed in The Lieutenant of Inishmoreand Coram Boy on Broadway, as well as a number of off-Broadway shows, including The Little Foxes, Stunning, That Face, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The Retributionists and Crooked. Milioti has appeared on 30 Rock as the baby-voiced comedienne Abby Flynn in the episode "TGS Hates Women," on The Sopranos as the daughter of a Mafia boss and as Mike Birbiglia's sister Janet in the 2012 film Sleepwalk With Me.


In the video below, watch Milioti and her Once co-star Steve Kazee perform "Falling Slowly."

This segment originally ran on January 11, 2012.

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