This enrages me on so many levels.
1. It's the height of laziness. Let's just do what someone else is doing, slap a different name on it, spin it just a little bit and call it "new". It reminds me of this and this and this and this. That is to say: lazy, lazy, lazy.
2. Um. It's not like you're an obscure, little-known company without an international hit to your name. Are you scared that once RENT closes, you'll need to replace that income? Hence you're doing something that sounds very much like a regular gala benefit.
3. Again, it's not like you don't have a theatre with a history of producing musicals. You're not expanding your programming, heading into uncharted territory. This isn't exactly a risk for you. So...we're back to #2. And #1.
4. I'm all for neglected musicals getting revisited, but to also revisit things that have had long, happy lives, that makes less sense. Also, there's already a company in NYC dedicated to reviving lost musicals. Again, see #1.
5. The most enraging, infruriating, frustrating, hair-pulling-out upsetting thing: YOU'RE A THEATRE DEDICATED TO NEW WORK. NEW WORK. Not a bunch of musicals that have been sitting on a shelf. And even if you wanted to give another chance to underappreciated works, produce them. Don't give them bullshit "high profile" readings. You have a theatre. Produce new musicals. Produce new work. Give new voices a chance. Don't do "readings" of old musicals, which, if they're hits, will invariably be given new productions and keep new musicals in readings and workshops. Take some chances!
Honestly, if this was announced by Lincoln Center or if City Center was expanding the Encores! program, it wouldn't be nearly so enraging. But NYTW doing it is such a shock and so depressing. And senseless. It's easily the most boneheaded thing announced by a theatre this year (and the year is still young...)