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the film
cowboy saloon.jpg


A western drama about the life of the man who inspired The Lone Ranger.

From Layon Gray, the writer of Black Angels Over Tuskegee, Cowboy is the first full on western to come to a New York stage in nearly 80 years.

Once regarded as the greatest of U.S. Deputy Marshals, many scholars believe that Bass Reeve's life served as inspiration for the character of the Lone Ranger.

Set in 1888 Oklahoma Indian territory, this show follows Bass Reeves and his Native American companion as they seek out two criminals fleeing to the Mexican border, one of whom Reeves has a death warrant for. But soon, they find themselves stuck in an old saloon as a deadly tornado slowly approaches.

The facts


Layon Gray is labeled by many critics and audiences as a genius for how how he take black stories from history pages to the stage.

Layon has spent more than two decades writing, directing and developing stage plays and films that reflect a wide array of cultural movements. A native of Louisiana,  Layon has earned more than 60 nominations and awards for his works. Among the honors are: 2021 Broadway World Awards for (Best Director, Best Actor, Best Play, Best Production Of The Year) for his play Cowboy, 2021 NYC AUDELCO Award for Kings Of Harlem, 2019


Detroit Distinguished Playwright Award, 2018 Miami Carbonell Awards (Best Director, Best Ensemble, Best Production) for his play Kings of Harlem, 2016 Broadway League Fellowship Honor, 2012 NYC Inspire Award, 2012, Al Sharpton Man of Vision Award, 2012 PCTF Award (Best Director) 2010 NY AUDELCO Award (Achievement Award for Excellence)

2009 NAACP Award (Best Ensemble Award); 2009 Hollywood ADA Award (Best Ensemble Award); 2008 MATCH-LIFE Artist of the Year; 2007 NAACP Award (Best Producer, Best Play); 2007 MITF Award (Best Play, Best Writer, Best Director, Best Producer); 2006 NAACP Award (Best Play); 2005 Hollywood ADA Award (Best Play);

2004 Hollywood ADA Award (Best Play, Best Writer, Best Director); and 2003 Los Angeles MADDY Award (Best Play, Best Writer, Best Director, Best Ensemble),


Black Angels Over Tuskegee, his play about the Tuskegee Airmen, ran Off-Broadway for eleven year and is in development for a Broadway transfer. The film versions of Kings Of Harlem, and Cowboy are both in early development as feature films.


His latest stage play de MOOR, about a black knight at King Arthur's round table of Camelot, debuted in Pittsburgh in November of 2021. He is currently writing a new musical with BMI in Manhattan New York. 


His two man play about Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx titled Foxx/Pryor will have a workshop  production in New York spring 2023. For more information on Layon's work log

on to or Instagram @LayonGray

The mission


First black U.S Deputy Marshal

Reeves was one of the most remarkable figures of the Old West, serving as a deputy U.S. Marshal from 1875 to 1907, mostly in and around the regrettable Indian Territory, which once made up much of what is now Oklahoma

Born into slavery, Reeves escaped from the slavery  during the Civil War, then fled into Indian Territory where, despite never having had the opportunity to learn to read, he learned the land and languages of the Cherokee, Seminole, and major tribes that had been forced to relocate to the region.

In 1875, Reeves was called upon to help clean up the Indian Territory. Reeves was involved in numerous

shootouts but was never wounded. In 1901,
he stated he had arrested over 3000 men and
women who had broke federal laws in the Indian Territory.

Bass Reeves escaped numerous assassination attempts on his life, he was the most feared deputy U.S. marshal to work the Indian Territory. 

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