By Dale Ricardo Shields

 His early death has left a hole in the Black Theatre community heart.

I miss you, ole friend.”


Born 8/26/52 (Cleveland, Ohio)
Death 6/27/90 (Cleveland, Ohio)

Reyno Crayton was the founding member and Artistic Director of The Unit Production Company with actors Dale Shields, Robyn Trussel, and Wayne Elbert. Together they produced Ted Shine’s Contributions and Shoe/String featuring Lawrence Fishburne, Arthur French, Barbara Montgomery, Sara Allen, Dale Shields, and Phillip Lindsey and at the St. Marks Theatre in New York City.

His numerous New York City theatre credits include Mother Courage and Her Children (Smoked Cheese/Soldier/Kinsmen) Joseph Papp Public Theater/Newman Theater, Spell # 7 (Player #8) Joseph Papp Public Theater/Anspacher Theater, Julius Caesar (Lucius) Joseph Papp Public Theater/Anspacher Theater, The Great MacDaddy (Performer/Ensemble) Lucille Lortel Theatre – The Negro Ensemble Company, The Brownsville Raid (Dorsey Willis) Lucille Lortel Theatre – Hymie  Finklestein’s Used Lumber Company – The Negro Ensemble Company, Shoes/Contributions (Smokey) St. Marks Place, Aid to Dependent Children (Ensemble) Brooklyn Academy of Music, Waiting for Mongo (Virgil) St. Mark’s Playhouse,   The First Breeze of Summer (Lou Edwards) St. Mark’s Playhouse – the Negro Ensemble Company.

In 1975, he won the Clarence Derwent Award and the 1975 OBIE Award, Performance as Lou Edwards in (The First Breeze of Summer). The cast included Ethel Ayler, Charles Brown, Frances Foster, Moses Gunn, Petronia, and Douglas Turner Ward. The production was transferred to Broadway in June of that year and played forty-eight performances at the Palace Theatre.