Michael Feinstein is a pianist, composer, author and music historian. He's also a vegan, avid recycler and Lexus hybrid driver who's made changes in his life for health, ethical and environmental reasons. "I have harangued my office into submission so they now recycle all paper. And I've been a vegan for nine years," he says, explaining that he was not feeling well before he switched his diet, and that he now feels more energetic and experiences fewer mood swings and digestive problems. "I believe the fewer animals that we eat, it's better for the environment. I'm not a proselytizer but I talk about it when I have the opportunity."
Feinstein returns to PBS Feb. 3 with a second season of "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook," beginning with "Time Machines," about how technology has preserved music and changed how we perceive classic songs and artists, followed on Feb. 10 by "Lost and Found," about the discovery of previously unknown pieces of music, and "Saloon Singers" on Feb. 17, exploring nightlife from Vegas to the Mississippi Delta. He's already interviewed Stephen Sondheim for a planned third series of episodes, and has plenty of other things to keep him busy.
"I have a book on the Gershwins coming out next fall and it will be accompanied by a Gershwins CD," says Feinstein, who performs around the world at from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl, dropping in from time to time at his own Manhattan cabaret. Meanwhile, he's adapting "The Thomas Crown Affair" for Broadway, turning it into a musical. "Like all Broadway shows it's coming along slowly," he says.