It would be difficult for Frank Verlizzo to not feel like a large portion of Times Square belonged to him. The massive, mustard-yellow artwork for The Lion King that stretches across the windows of the Minskoff Theatre and tops hundreds of taxicabs was created by Verlizzo, a Broadway poster designer who is known professionally as “Fraver” (a combination of his first and last name). For over 30 years, Verlizzo’s theatrical artwork has scoured New York and the globe, having designed the artwork for over 300 Broadway and off-Broadway productions. A retrospective of his work is currently on display at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center through April 30. The New York native sat down with Stage Rush to tell the stories behind his most-recognized work, and discuss ads versus art.
There isn’t much competition for you in the field of Broadway poster designing. How does that make you feel?
My biggest strength is I love it. I love it just as much today as I did 30 years ago. It’s the combination of posters, which I adore, and the theater, which I love. It’s a perfect combination. There is much more branding with theater posters than those for movies. When you mention Sweeney Todd to someone, it’s almost 30 years later and people remember it, because the art is still around. The show is pretty much gone, but the poster was the first thing they saw and the poster is the thing that stays behind. Read more