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Book Reviews

Fraver by Design

Fraver by Design

For over five decades, Frank Verlizzo, known universally in the theatre as “Fraver,” has designed more iconic show posters than any other artist. You can enjoy them all in “Fraver by Design,” in vivid, living color, a must-have for all theatre buffs.

Frank Verlizzo

Although the posters, all of which are reproduced here, are the main reason to buy the book, the notes which accompany them are fascinating. Usually, Fraver takes us through his creative process from idea to finished artwork, but he also includes fascinating glimpses of everything that goes into the way he worked with producers to come up with the perfect marketing concept. There are also introductory observations from Broadway producers such as Emmanuel Azenberg, Jean Doumanian and Jack Viertel; and stars who appeared in some of the shows, such as Judy Kaye and Liz Calloway. Bernadette Peters’ piece on Sunday in the Park with George is particularly enlightening.

Fraver has arranged the book in three sections: “Broadway,” Off Broadway” and “Beyond.” The Beyond section includes his many posters for City Center’s “Encores” series. The Broadway section includes all of his most famous posters. Here are just a few:

I was blessed to see all of the shows the poster for which Fraver designed, except for the ones for Encores, and leafing through his book brought back many happy memories. Also, I served on the Drama Desk Nominating Committee with him for one season. He holds the unique distinction of being the only member of the Drama Desk to receive a Drama Desk Award – for Lifetime Achievement.

“Fraver by Design” is a gem of a book.

Fraver by Design. Frank Verlizzo. Schiffer Publishing. Aiglen, PA

Book Reviews

For over thirty years, Lawrence Harbison was in charge of new play acquisition for Samuel French, Inc., during which time he was responsible for the publication of hundreds of plays, by new playwrights such as Jane Martin, Don Nigro, Tina Howe, Theresa Rebeck, William Mastrosimone, Charles Fuller and Ken Ludwig among many others; and the acquisition of musicals such as Smoke on the Mountain, A…My Name Is Alice and Little Shop of Horrors. He has edited over 100 anthologies for Smith and Kraus, Inc. For Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, he has edited several monologue, full length, 10-minute and 5-minute play anthologies. Currently, he is editing books solely for Applause. He has set up a new division for Applause to publish and license individual full length plays, as well as the World Premiere Club. His column, “On the Aisle with Larry,” appeared in the Chelsea Clinton News and the Westsider for several years and then moved to www.smithandkraus.com. In December of 2019, it began running on the Applause website, www.applausebooks.com. It also appears on his blog at www.playfixer.com and on www.doollee.com, the international playwrights database. He also writes occasional columns for Theatre Record, a London-based magazine. He was a member for many years of two NYC press organizations, the Outer Critics Circle and the Drama Desk, and served on the Drama Desk Awards Nominating Committee for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons. He works with individual playwrights to help them develop their plays (see his website, www.playfixer.com). He has also served as literary manager or literary consultant for several theatres. He taught playwriting in the Theatre Dept. of the University of Michigan in the winter semester of 2016. He holds a B.A. from Kenyon College and an M.A. from the University of Michigan. His book, How I Did It: Establishing a Playwriting Career, a collection of interviews with playwrights, was published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books in March, 2015. His latest anthologies of monologues and 10-minute plays were published in December, 2019 by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.

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