Last night I received a call from a very pleasant young woman representing Boston's Huntington Theatre Company. She noted that I'd attended a performance of Fences and asked what I thought. I told her I really enjoyed it.
She said that was great and then proceeded to inform me that the production was going to Broadway, with only one cast change as far as she knew - the addition of Denzel Washington. She encouraged me to try and see the play again in New York.
Then she started to make a pitch for a donation. (Not to finance the "Broadway transfer," which would have been cool, but for the Huntington's very worthy education program.)
I once spent a couple of months selling subscriptions to The Boston Globe over the phone. (Not very successfully, I might add.) I know how hard it is, so I don't blame this person. Maybe she works on commission and isn't a theatre fan and doesn't even live in Massachusetts.
But I haven't seen the Huntington mentioned in association with the Broadway revival that begins previews April 14 at the Cort Theatre. As far as I know, this isn't a transfer but an entirely separate production with different producers and cast, headed by Washington and Viola Davis.
Maybe there's some connection I don't know about but as far as I can tell, the only thing the Boston and New York Fences have in common is that it's the same play and the same director, Kenny Leon.
What bothers me is that the same thing happened the last time I got a call from the Huntington, just a few months ago. The young woman on the phone tried to tell me that Becky Shaw, which the theatre is presenting in the spring, was a Broadway play. I know it's an off-Broadway play.
Now, I love the Huntington. I've seen several shows there and I've enjoyed each one of them and I'll definitely go again.
I know nonprofits are hurting and it's difficult to raise money. Broadway sounds better than off Broadway and Denzel Washington sounds more impressive than John Beasley (who actually was very impressive at the Huntington in the role Washington will be playing.)
But this is getting annoying.
So here's a some advice for any theatre company that might call me in the future: if you want me to consider donating money or becoming a season subscriber, please be honest when you make your pitch. Because I was not born yesterday.
The sad thing is, the Huntington does great work. It doesn't need to embellish its record.