Nightly News | May 24, 2012
>>> culture obsessed with youth, but thankfully that does not apply to the broadway shows this season. because many of the people who are packing them into the theater are stage veterans to put it mildly, who seem to be reversing time while we watch from the audience. our woman on broadway tonight is nbc's chris jansing .
>> it's been 55 years since james earl jones first set foot on a broadway stage , and now at 81, he's back. playing an energetic former president in the best man, alongside 86-year-old angela lansbury .
>> very nicely put.
>> this play i look forward to every day.
>> far beyond the typical retirement age, they're not just working, they're thriving. their star power bringing in audiences to watch "murder she wrote."
>> surely she's not a suspect.
>> and star wars fans who still marvel at the voice behind darth vader .
>> i am your father.
>> between them, they have seven tony awards , and yet they are modest, open, and utterly charming.
>> 18, you know.
>> yeah, he's 17. between the two of us, you know, we hardly --
>> you could order a drink.
>> we could order a drink.
>> they haare simply very happy and a bit amazed to still be working. so is their friend joel gray .
>> there's nothing like a live audience who still gets a thrill seeing his picture on a billboard.
>> it's been 46 years since he won best actor awards for cabaret on stage and in film. and never imagined then he would still be going strong at 80.
>> first of all, i didn't know i was going to be 80.
>> doing eight shows a week takes discipline. no partying, lots of sleep, and what about memorizing all those lines? is it different than when you were 25 or 30?
>> it's like a windshield wiper came along and went, swish. it's all gone.
>> it happens to all actors.
>> even though the occasional lapses are part of the mental challenge tat keeps them feeling young.
>> will you always want to act?
>> i say providing i can put one foot in front of the other, i will continue to act.
>> i would love to have toxian in my brain.
>> where that passion will take them next is happily for their friends, a story that's still being written. chris jansing , nbc news, new york.