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Pick # 1 - For the Theatre Lover with a Passport

     Yes, you might be saying to yourself "Shut your mouth; it's not even Halloween yet!" - but hear me out. Before the first weekend in October - and even before the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book has been released - this once in a lifetime chance will have passed.
    2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the longest running stage musical of all time: Les Miserables.  And to mark this auspicious occasion, a new touring production of Les Miserables has been launched at The Barbican Theatre in London for a limited run.  This is the very theatre where Les Mis - as it's lovingly referred to among theatre goers - had its world premier in 1985. It will run simultaneously with the ongoing West End production at the
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more intimate Queen's Theatre
    But what makes this a "once in a lifetime" landmark event is that a third production will take place at London's O2 Arena, a complex that since opening in 2007 has hosted concerts from Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Tina Turner, Elton John - and will host an array of Olympic events in 2012.  For this production of Les Miserables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary, more than 300 performers from across the world will take the stage for what is bound to be an epic, star studded event.  Former cast members from the past 25 years will join newcomers for the event - including Tony Award winners Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon) as "Fantine" and Alfie Boe (Baz Luhrman's La Bahome) as "Jean Valjean."
    Oliver Award winner Jenny Galloway (Mamma Mia!) takes on the role of "Madame Thénardier," which she performed at the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1995. Ramin Karimloo, who starred as Christine's father in the movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit The Phantom of the Opera and is currently starring as "The Phantom" in Webber's sequel The Phantom of the Opera called Love Never Dies, takes on the role of "Enjolras."  
      But in what is perhaps a bold and daring move, pop superstar Nick Jonas (yes, THAT Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers) will star as "Marius" - a role he performed earlier this year to surprisingly fantastic reviews at The Queens Theatre.
     Tickets are now on sale for each of the productions, or you can opt for what is being called the "Total Mizery" package. For £385 per person (about $490 US dollars), you secure a premium seat for the O2 Concert on October 3rd (which alone would run around $315 US) and top-price seats for performances at The Barbican and The Queens Theatre on October 2nd.
      But you had better hurry.  To make this holiday the most wonderfully miserable as you can, you need to act fast - tickets are just about sold out.  
      As for flights, they are currently running around $1,000 per person from Austin to London.  But try looking at flights from Houston or Dallas, as they tend to run a couple hundred less.
    For more information and tickets visit www.LesMis.com, or for the "Total Mizery" package, call 0844 482 5171.
     Oh, and bring me back a program - or at the very least a picture.

Nick Manix is a professional writer and journalist who splits his time between Central Texas and New Orleans.

(Image courtesy Broadway World)