FRANK “FRAVER” VERLIZZO
Frank “Fraver” Verlizzo has left an indelible mark on the landscape of the American theatre – he’s created show poster art for over 300 Broadway and Off Broadway productions, including some of the most memorable designs in theatre history. Posters designed by Fraver (the moniker he uses to sign his work – taken from the first three letters of his first name and last name) hang on the office walls of virtually every major theatrical producer and institution for well over the last quarter century.
The press has long recognized his impact in the theatrical community. Playbill has called him “the theatre poster legend” and “designer of some of modern theatre’s greatest show posters.” Associated Press proclaimed him “one of Broadway’s top design artists.” Broadway.com hailed him as a “legendary theatre artist.” And in a 1996 profile, Peter Marks of The New York Times wrote of his work, “The images Mr. Verlizzo creates become a part of a production’s permanent record. The rest could very well be theatrical history.”
In 2010, in celebration of his illustrious career, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center presented a retrospective exhibit entitled, “Design: Fraver – Four Decades of Theatre Poster Art”. This exhibit showcased 44 of Fraver’s most iconic pieces of art, as well as sketches, notes and unpublished images that bring the artist’s process to life. In reviewing the exhibit, Peter Filichia of Theatremania.com wrote, “Do yourself a favor and see Fraver. There are wondrous subtleties in his artwork. Your eyes will be amply rewarded.”
Some of Fraver’s many unforgettable theatre poster designs include the original Broadway productions of Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, The Lion King, Ira Levin’s Deathtrap, Whose Life is it Anyway?, My One and Only, Horton Foote’s The Young Man From Atlanta, Baby, Lanford Wilson’s Burn This, Edward Albee’s Seascape, and David Mamet’s American Buffalo. His gargoyle poster design for Stephen Sondheim & George Furth’s Getting Away with Murder proved to be one of the rare instances when a piece of poster art was recognized by the press with better reviews than the play itself.
Fraver’s association with many of the works of Stephen Sondheim led The Kennedy Center to commission him to design all nine pieces of logo art for their Sondheim Celebration during the summer of 2002. In the summer of 2004 he again designed the poster art for all three Tennessee Williams Revisited productions at The Kennedy Center. And recently he was commissioned once more to design the poster art for their much-anticipated revival of Stephen Sondheim & James Goldman’s Follies.
The prolific nature of his work shows no signs of abating. Fraver logo designs have recently greeted theatregoers on marquees and Playbills for a wide variety of shows on and off Broadway, on tour, and in London’s West End, including Our Town, Looped, The Story of My Life, Journey’s End, Twelve Angry Men, Forbidden Broadway, The Glass Menagerie, Little Women, Candide (New York City Opera), The Frogs (Lincoln Center Theater), Play Dead, The Night of the Iguana, Freud’s Last Session, and the long-running The Lion King. In addition, Fraver is currently designing key art for Yale Repertory Theatre’s 2011-2012 season.
In 1987, Fraver’s poster art garnered him a Special Drama Desk Award for “inspired artwork for theatrical productions,” an honor never before bestowed in the area of theatrical advertising.
After serving through the years in a variety of roles ranging from Creative Art Director/VP to Managing Partner/Co-Creative Director at virtually every major theatrical advertising agency, Fraver launched his own boutique design firm, FraverDesign, in 2010. A new concept in theatrical advertising, FraverDesign provides theatre producers with the opportunity to obtain vital advertising creative and create the key art for their shows, either in conjunction with an advertising agency or in the very early stages of production before an agency is brought on board. In addition to creating production key art, FraverDesign offers a full slate of graphic design services for its theatrical clientele.
A New York City native, Fraver holds a BFA in Illustration and Advertising from Pratt Institute, where he studied under renowned poster artist David Edward Byrd.
FraverDesign was launched in 2010. A new concept in theatrical advertising, FraverDesign offers theatre producers the opportunity to obtain vital advertising creative and create the key art for their shows, either in conjunction with an advertising agency or in the very early of production before an agency is brought on board. This opens up a new world of options for producers, giving them greater control over the art selection process. As FraverDesign is not directly involved in media planning or ad placement, it provides services to Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional productions alike. In addition to creating production key art, FraverDesign offers a full slate of graphic design services for its theatrical clientele.