‘Lazarus’ Star Cristin Milioti Calls David Bowie ‘Incredibly Supportive’

Cristin Milioti has a substantial resume as a television and theater actor. She was the titular character in the last seasons of How I Met Your Mother and had a turn in Fargo on FX. She earned a Tony nomination in 2013 for her role in Once. But to legions of David Bowie fans, she’s most associated with the rock icon’s last theatrical effort, a play called Lazarus, based on his songs and the 1970s-era film The Man Who Fell to Earth.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Milioti, who performed many of Bowie’s songs in the production and worked with him as the play came together, revealed her overall impressions of the famously elusive musician.

“You couldn’t have met like a kinder, more generous, more charismatic person. He was incredibly supportive, and every interaction I had with him was beyond blissful. He was a really incredible human being.”

Back in November, Milioti appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers to discuss Lazarus preparations. She revealed that early on in rehearsals, she was singing one of Bowie’s most iconic songs when the musician walked into the room. Unable to see well without her glasses, she did not acknowledge Bowie and simply kept singing.

HIMYM cast
Cristin Milioti played the mother in the final season of 'How I Met Your Mother.' (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

She told Rolling Stone the play was physically taxing — she had to run around the stage in high heels — but it was a thrill to sing “Changes,” her favorite Bowie song, and other classics. When asked about Bowie’s death earlier this year from cancer, Milioti said the event is still fresh.

“I’m reticent to talk about it. I think I’m still processing it.”

Bowie’s death in January came as Lazarus was still completing its run. His final public appearance was on December 7, when he attended the production’s opening night.

'Lazarus' David Bowie
After David Bowie's death, fans left flowers outside the New York Theater Workshop where Cristin Milioti's play 'Lazarus' was continuing its run. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

As an actor known for her work on-screen and on-stage, Milioti is a diverse and multi-talented performer. She told Rolling Stone that theater actors are called to do eight shows a week, requiring immense stamina. Despite that fact, show performers don’t enjoy the same respect as their counterparts in film and television.

“[P]eople still have like a weird reaction to theater sometimes like it’s below film and television, and it’s like, no. This is the hardest stuff. On film and TV sets, they let you sit down. Theater is like pushing a boulder up a hill each night. It’s a fun boulder, but it’s a boulder.”

Despite her love of theater, Milioti has had notable spots on television. In addition to the high face recognition brought by How I Met Your Mother, she has had small roles on The Good Wife and The Sopranos. Her guest spot on Tina Fey’s 30 Rock as a female comic who overused her sexuality was at the core of one of the program’s most memorable episodes. Milioti told The Daily Beast she was flattered that Fey chose her for that particular role, when she could have tapped better-known comedians.

Milioti spoke to Rolling Stone on the occasion of Fargo‘s DVD release. Her character is living with cancer during the series, and Milioti appreciated the depth of the story.

“It’s not often that a strong female role comes across one’s desk, unfortunately, but it’s getting better. I liked that the character has incredible inner strength during this tumultuous time, not only for her community but for her family and herself.”

Lazarus closed January 19, 2016, after a two-month run at New York Theater Workshop.

[Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images]