by Dale Ricardo Shields



 His early death has left a hole in the New York’s Black Theatre community heart.

I miss you, Ole Friend.”

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

An alumnus of Karamu House and Cleveland, Ohio native, 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 at the St. Marks Theatre in New York City. 

The First Breeze of Summer

By Clive Barnes
March 3, 1975

His 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.


John Hay High School

Cuyahoga Community College

Case Western Reserve University


Film and Television

Fort Apache the Bronx (1981),
Watch Your Mouth (1978),
The First Breeze of Summer (1976)
Cooley High (1975).


In 1975, Reyno won the ‘Clarence Derwent Award’ and the 1975 ‘OBIE Award’, performing 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. The play with its original cast was produced for television in 1976 for Great Performances – Theater in America (Thirteen/Wnet).  – Biography  by Dale Ricardo Shields