Tonys 2012: 'Once' Star Cristin Milioti's Strategy for Calming Pre-Show Jitters

"I had a drink before I got here, which was very, very helpful," he actress tells THR.

Before Once won Best Musical at Sunday's Tony Awards, Cristin Milioti -- nominated for her leading role in the Irish romance  -- needed some, ahem, liquid courage to kick off the night.

"I had a drink before I got here, which was very, very helpful -- and that's about it. That's the only way I prepared," the delightfully candid actress told THR on the red carpet at New York City's Beacon Theater.

Milioti, 26, who portrays "Girl" in the hit Broadway adaptation of the indie film, said before the ceremony that she was "nervous but also calm, oddly. It's a little out of body, but it's all right."

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She hadn't prepared a speech because she didn't want to get her hopes up.

As it happened, multiple Tony winner Audra McDonald snagged the trophy for best performance by a leading actress in a musical for Porgy and Bess; besides Milioti, other contenders in the field were Jan Maxwell (Follies), Kelli O'Hara (Nice Work If You Can Get It) and Laura Osnes (Bonnie & Clyde).

In the end, Once -- which came in with 11 nominations -- cleaned up, beating Newsies for top honors and netting a best actor prize for Millioti's co-star, Steve Kazee.

"I've never been part of a successful show like this," said Milioti. "But the people in it, the creative team, the cast, the producers. They've all changed my life for the better. They make me go out there every night and do the best I can."