Fresh out of art school in the early 80s, Steven bought a used guitar in a junk shop on St. Marks Place, learned three chords, and taught himself to write songs by listening to Dolly Parton records. He insinuated himself into a couple post-punk neo-folk bands in the East Village, but soon discovered the world of downtown theater. Through the late 80s and early 90s, he wrote and performed music in several experimental productions with tiny mythic theatre company and directors Kristin Marting and Tim Maner.
In 1992, he and Jay Byrd created an act called Y’all, singing original songs and telling stories in the style of old-time country vaudeville. The act sprang from the downtown theater scene but went on to play in coffeehouses, churches, retirement homes, and rock clubs across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. In ten years, Y’all recorded four CDs, published two books, and appeared on MTV and Comedy Central. Their last two years together, they lived in a camper on the road with a third partner. Steven made a documentary about that relationship and the final years of Y’all, Life in a Box, which premiered in the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2005.
With co-writers Tim Maner and Alan Stevens Hewitt, Steven created LIZZIE, which began in 1990 in New York as a 4-song experimental rock show but has transformed over the years into a full-length rock opera which has seen dozens of productions large and small across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. LIZZIE will open off-Broadway in the summer of 2019.
Steven is currently writing a new musical called Jack, based on his high school diary. He is a 2019 Jonathan Larson Grant finalist, a MacDowell Fellow, and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in American Studies. He lives in New York City with his husband.