One of Frank “Fraver” Verlizzo’s most monumental works has long been lost to history. Spanning the length of Broadway from 45th to 46th streets, it was a teaser to what was soon to arrive, Stevie Wonder’s groundbreaking 1976 opus, “Songs in the Key of Life.”

For months, the billboard Verlizzo designed rose above the throngs, his signature two feet tall at the corner of 46th and Broadway. It was the last piece of artwork to grace the space, which was eventually torn down to make way for the Marriott Marquis hotel.

“That was one of the first things that I did,” he says, more than 30 years later, from his Shelton home. “Part of my challenge was always trying to make my art stand out on a Times Square billboard, which today is a much bigger challenge.”

Verlizzo, who has used Fraver as his nom de plume since his days at the High School of Art and Design in New York City, largely has designed show posters, and other promotional material, for some of the top Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of the past four decades, including “Sunday in the Park with George” (1984), “Burn This” (1987), “The Lion King” (1997) and “Follies” (2011). For his efforts, he received a Drama Desk Award, a retrospective exhibit at Lincoln Center and an achievement award from his alma mater, Pratt Institute, where he studied under poster artist David Byrd before he graduated in 1972.

Through June 30, part of his canon is on view at the Sofitel hotel in New York City, not that far from where that billboard stood.

For those who like the story behind the art, Verlizzo has complied with a new book, “Fraver By Design: Five Decades of Theatre Poster Art from Broadway, Off-Broadway and Beyond,” by Schiffer Publishing. Thanks to storage and perseverance, his posters survived, with more than 250 featured.

The book is as much a window into how iconic images and designs are hatched as it is a nostalgic trip through the bygone days of New York City. He conveys the early 1970s energy of advertising agencies, such as Blaine Thompson, where he got his first full-time job, and speaks to how his industry evolved with the introduction of the computer by the late 1990s.

Since 2010, he has been on his own, after stints at J. Walter Thompson Entertainment Group, Serino Coyne, Grey Entertainment and others.

“The art has to intrigue someone enough to want to buy a ticket or learn more about the show,” Verlizzo says. “In the 1970s and ’80s, 90 percent of people’s information for theater came from ads in the New York Times. Whatever I designed had to work on a one-column by one-inch ad, so you had to learn to make a design that would work on a billboard and a small ad and have the same effect. That hasn’t changed much today, because we are now talking about web banners.”

Having adapted himself to the technological changes, and thankful for many of them, including the split-second ability to revise or add color for a fraction of what it once cost, he still bemuses the loss of some tools.

A surprising one? Copiers. The older ones, with their less sophisticated resolution, allowed Verlizzo to create the effect of antique Victorian printing, which can be seen on the posters for “Diversions & Delights” (1978), with Vincent Price and “The Lion in Winter” (1992), with George Peppard. As he ran original art or lettering through the machine, his portraits and illustrations, as well as the type, gained a rougher texture.

“To me, it is like an artist’s tool that doesn’t exist anymore, or at least doesn’t exist in the same way it once did,” he says.

One of his most iconic works, “The Lion King,” is a study in the environment in which he grew up, lived and worked, New York City, as well as a testament to the typography he studied at Pratt. (He moved to Connecticut from the Upper East Side several years ago.)

Based on a nearly 100-year-old German typeface known as Neuland, he kept the title bold and simple - black lettering on a taxicab yellow. Relying on Julie Taymor’s costume sketches and Richard Hudson’s scenic designs, he drew by hand more than 50 sketches of the main character Simba. They were eventually distilled into the woodcut-like image created by Disney animator Hans Bacher.

“I designed it specifically to look great on a taxi cab,” Verlizzo says. If someone saw it whizzing by on a cab or city bus, he wanted it to register. “Black on yellow is the best thing you can have. It’s practically like having neon.”

In recent years, he has expanded to regional theater, including Westport Country Playhouse’s 2017 season. Some of the Broadway plays he worked with on are coming around again. He may resurrect concepts that were nixed or apply fresh eyes. This time around, the subject matter is less of a mystery.

For first runs, he often only has the script, direction from the creative team and maybe costume sketches as inspiration.

“The toughest shows are the ones where nothing is happening. You read the script and you are like ay-ay-ay,” he says, laughing. “The producers say they want it to look funny and you wonder where you will get that from. But, you get it done. Those are rare, but they do happen.”

chennessy@hearstmediact.com; Twitter: @xtinahennessy