Musical Theater in Korea - Dorian Gray: A New Musical - The Nerdventurists -

Musical Theater in Korea: Dorian Gray (Starring Kim Junsu and Park Eun Tae)

Living in a foreign country has its host of difficulties, especially when you don’t know the language. However, I truly believe that music is international and you don’t necessarily need to comprehend every individual word to understand the feeling or meaning behind a song.

That’s why I wasn’t too worried when I traveled out to the Seongnam Arts Center to see a new musical that had been produced back in September. It was Dorian Gray. I knew the story, so figured I would be able to follow the plot well enough. Mostly I was looking forward to how the story would be translated into a musical, listen to some pretty voices, and of course to see my favorite singer Kim Junsu in the starring role (who I went to see in my first KPOP concert back in June).

This post will contain plot spoilers for The Picture of Dorian Gray and also the musical version. The story is over 100 years old but well… just saying.

Musical Theater in Korea - Dorian Gray: A New Musical - The Nerdventurists -

The rest of the cast I wasn’t familiar with besides Park Eun Tae who played Henry, whom I recognized from playing Lucheni in the Korean version of my favorite musical, Elisabeth. The good thing about this was I really had no major expectations, and I was completely blown away.

The songs were wonderful and emotive, and everyone in the cast was a stellar performer. It had a healthy balance of narrative mixed with more metaphorical dances and scenes, which it something that really only musical theater can do. And Dorian Gray did it very well, seamlessly blending modern musical elements with classical to create this world.

Musical Theater in Korea - Dorian Gray: A New Musical - The Nerdventurists -

Okay… maybe in hindsight not the BEST photo to illustrate this point…

South Korea is still a very socially conservative country, and so to see art and theater not only putting on productions that have queer characters but actively doing so and exploring those relationships is absolutely wonderful (in the past year there’s been productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, AND Kinky Boots that’s currently playing). So I was well impressed with that, especially as every time we went they seemed to do more and more with it.

It stayed pretty true to the original text as well, and what changes they made I mostly was in favor with. Sibyl’s brother became a sister, allowing more female parts, for starters. The only thing I continued to wrinkle my noise at is that Dorian doesn’t stab the portrait at the end, instead slitting his throat, which in turn makes the portrait return to its original glory. The curtain call was part of the show, depicting limbo/the after life and Dorian being forgiven. This could be argued to be going against the text a bit, however in the end Dorian does make the decision to destroy the portrait and, by proxy, himself to try and absolve himself of his sins… so it’s okay. Plus I desperately appreciated the fact Dorian and Basil got to hug again (pssst there’s tons of fancams of the curtain call, ugly crying faces and all.)

Every actor was fantastic and I really enjoyed getting introduced to new artists after seeing the shows. I’m definitely a Park Eun Tae and Choi Jae Woong fan now, hardcore, and I look forward to following their careers. The woman who played Sibyl, Hong Seo Yeoung was a newcomer and she did a simply lovely job, especially for her debut.

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The sets were minimalist in nature, but also really beautiful in that regard. I especially enjoyed the giant windows that would slide in and turn around mid-scene for dramatic effect. The show didn’t need to rely on extravagant sets, which I think always plays to the strength of a performance. They used a lot of media elements though, which was new to me, but added to the overall feel of the show; sometimes videos were superimposed onto scenes as the actors sang a solo, as well as showing two scenes happening at once, which was quite clever.

In total I would go three times to see the show (which closes next Friday as of when this post was published). Each time I would discover new things about the production which I loved (which honestly probably had a lot to do with we progressively got closer with every viewing, 14th, 9th, and 5th row respectfully). But the fact was, I’d fallen head over heels back in love with the theater. I grew up in the theater program through high school, a time when I desperately sought to be good at something like most teenagers. I eventually transferred from on stage to off stage, working as a stage manager and producer, but I’ve honestly been debating giving it a try again. This production had a lot to do with that.

Musical Theater in Korea - Dorian Gray: A New Musical - The Nerdventurists -

They had a portrait on display you could take photos with. I did. Everyone did. It was great.

Going to the theater in South Korea wasn’t all that different from anywhere else in the world. Binoculars are popular here, to get a better view of your actor of choice, but otherwise it was pretty much standard. There was a pop up store for merchandise, which was good and prone to sell out before I could get anything, and the theater was gorgeous, if ages away from the city center.

Musical Theater in Korea - Dorian Gray: A New Musical - The Nerdventurists -

Nicky and I bonded hardcore over this production and we’re sad to see it end, but also immeasurably thankful for having the opportunity to have seen it as many times as we did.

For a tour of the theater, more thoughts about the show and specific performances (including Junsu’s), please watch my vlog (and subscribe <3)

They have released a number of videos with clips and songs from the production, which I have for you below if you’re curious! You can find out more about the production on the musical’s page at CJeS.

Haunted Disney World - The Nerdventurists -

Haunted Disney World

So it’s not only Disneyland in California that’s haunted… Disney World has quite the fair share of ghostly occurrences itself! What, with five parks, there is a treasure trove of creepy stories, scary specters, and heebie jeebies abound! Tis the season for a good ghost story or two, so here’s a handful from our time at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

You may notice some of the rides here are ALSO haunted at Disneyland… I wonder why that is… MWAHAHAHHAA. It’s time for another edition of Disney Adventures!

Haunted Disney World - The Nerdventurists -

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Quitting Your Job Abroad - The Nerdventurists -

Quitting Your Job In Korea

A few months ago I talked about how excited I was to be moving to South Korea. I was looking for a positive life change, going to a place where I could be creative and save money and travel. You may also remember I mentioned that I was kinda wary of it. I tried convincing myself it was just nerves and that it was okay to be afraid. I really should have just listened to my gut. Always listen to your gut.

14 hour work day. Cool.

A photo posted by Kristina 크리스티나 (@kmanente) on


Long story short… I hated the job. I felt I couldn’t keep up, I was told I didn’t have the right personality, I broke down a few times, I was given more responsibilities than I could possibly handle during my working hours… the list could go on and on. It wasn’t just one thing, but a series of little and big things that began to pile onto one another until I decided I just couldn’t do it.

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Weird & Wackiest Museums in South Korea - The Nerdventurists -

Weird and Wacky Museums of South Korea

I’ve never seen so many museums in a single country than I have in South Korea. It’s staggering actually. There’s everything from museums on folklore to Leonardo da Vinci, Hello Kitty, and even African art.

Some of these museums get a little… different. How about one dedicated to toilet culture around the world? Or even erotica? Yup. It exists.


I wrote about some of these fantastic museums and where to find them, so you should definitely check it out!

Read more on iExplore…

Also don’t forget to check out my  Jeju Island guide on iExplore as well!

Moist Lover rubber mask review - The Nerdventurists -

Moist Lover Rubber Mask Review

Sometimes you see something and have to buy it.

I’m a big fan of the skincare here in Korea. It’s well priced, has great effects, and there’s about 5,000 different things to try. One of those things I didn’t anticipate trying was something called Moist Lover. It’s one of Dr. Jart’s new rubber masks and after so many of you freaked out about it on instagram and facebook, I had to give it a try.

All the details in the vlog, including where to buy it in Korea and abroad.

Watch the video above and please subscribe!

What To Expect At Shanghai Disneyland - Disney Adventures - The Nerdventurists -

What To Expect At Shanghai Disneyland


The newest Disney park on the block is the megalith Disneyland in Shanghai. Not only is it the largest Disney park in the world at 963 acres (that’s THREE TIMES the size of Hong Kong Disneyland), it also has the tallest and biggest castle at a staggering 196 feet. It’s based off The Beast’s castle from Beauty & the Beast and even has a ride inside.

It’s been plagued by some bad press and even had to close because tourists trashed the place and the Shanghai government and tourism bureau was forced to put out a theme park etiquette guide. No joke.


Because the park is relatively new (it only opened this summer), not a lot of people know what to expect when heading there. We sure didn’t, and even though Alston and I both read our fair share of articles not being super complimentary of the park, we had more Disney Adventures to do! So we book the flights, got a whole gaggle of people together (seriously there were fourteen of us, including our lovely videographer Jeff!), and decided to get magical~

What To Expect At Shanghai Disneyland - The Nerdventurists -

Shanghai Disneyland was an experience, a good one ultimately, but also a very intense one. So if you’re thinking of heading to the Happiest Place On Earth, Chinese edition, here are some tips and tricks that you are definitely going to need.

It’s time for another episode of Disney Adventures with Kristina and Alston!

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How I saved $3k going to the dentist in South Korea - A+ Dental Apgujeong - The Nerdventurists -

How I Saved $3k By Going To The Dentist In South Korea

I have saved over $3,000 in Korea. No, it’s not from penny pinching and transferring money home (although I do that too), no, it’s because I went to the dentist.

Yup. The dentist.

Dental care in South Korea is cheap. It’s not insanely cheap, no, but it’s much cheaper than back home in the United States, and the standard of care here is phenomenal. The offices are clean, the procedures well done, and everything is just all around a lot more inexpensive.

I hadn’t been to the dentist in seven years. That’s right, seven years. It was too expensive in the USA, even when I was covered under insurance. It was completely impossible to even think of going when I had to leave my mother’s insurance when I came of age, so I just didn’t go. Yes, I had cavities, but I monitored them and never had any pain, so I figured everything was okay. And more or less things were.

However, I knew I needed to get a bit of work done, so when I was thinking of making the move to Korea I looked up how much dental care was there. To my surprise it was a lot cheaper than even I had been expecting, 1/3 if not lower than USA prices WITH insurance. It was a no brainer for me. I stuck it out and waited until I was settled in Seoul before heading to get my teeth fixed.

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Make your own soap at Innisfree Jeju House - The Nerdventurists -

Make Your Own Soap At Innisfree Jeju House

Vacations are definitely earned in Korea and I just spent the most wonderful five days on Jeju Island, South Korea’s own little Hawaii. Volcanic beaches, white sand, clear water, rolling mountains, and tons of tangerines and green tea. It was pretty much paradise and rest assured, I’ll be writing a lot about it.

Hyeopjae Beach on Jeju Island - The Nerdventurists -

I mean… look at that.

To kick things off, I want to let you all know about one of my favorite things we did on the island. Did you know you can make your own soap on Jeju?

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Best Attractions At Disneyland

So first: big news! Alston and I are going to Shanghai Disney!! Yes, that mega park that just opened; we’re going! Our Disney Adventures continue around the world and I can’t wait to share the experience with you all!

I am especially looking forward to the new rides! The TRON Lightcycle is like a roller coaster you have to power (well, partially) and race against other teams!


Credit: Disney

Sora is bound to be jealous, because there’s a new Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Shanghai as well!  Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure!

Set sail for seafaring fun that takes you on, over and under the deep blue in search of Davy Jones’ sunken plunder—all while crossing paths with pirates, mermaids and even the savage Kraken.

In honor of this, and to continue our magical adventures around the world, I thought I’d highlight the best attractions at the original Disneyland. Naturally these are just my opinions and such, but maybe you’ll agree?

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Between The Sheets: Sheraton Grande Walkerhill

This edition of Between the Sheets will be a little different. The majority of the time when I travel it’s by using hostels and the occasional budget hotel. This is typically because I am generally destitute and the fact I see my accommodations as a place I simply sleep; I don’t intend to hang around and so why would I waste money on amenities? Well, sometimes you need a staycation and a random hostel won’t cut it. So if you’re looking for comfort and luxury in Seoul… you should head to The Sheraton Grande Walkerhill.

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