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The Brothers Paranormal [2019]

a play by Prince Gomolvilas


In this genre-bending supernatural thriller, two Thai-American brothers launch a ghost-hunting business in order to capitalize on the nationwide increase in sightings of "Asian-looking ghosts." When the siblings investigate the home of an African-American couple who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina and who are antagonized by one very terrifying spirit, everyone’s notions of reality, fantasy, and sanity clash against the shocking truth.

Acclaim​ for the New York City Production

"Prince Gomolvilas's clever, multilayered play is gratifyingly subtle in its inquiry into migration—the pain of crossing over for the living and the dead alike. Jeff Liu's direction shifts deftly among registers: comedy, melancholy, suspense, and several genuine scares, achieved with the help of some smart lo-fi effects (designed in part by Steve Cuiffo) but especially through the performances."

The New Yorker

Acclaim for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Production

"Funny, haunting, and brilliant! The Brothers Paranormal stands among the most brilliantly sculpted works I've encountered on a Twin Cities stage within the past few years. Directed by Penumbra founder Lou Bellamy, it features six actors creating vivid and memorable characters. Thanks in great part to Gomolvilas's astounding craftsmanship, it's a production that deftly combines comedy with spine-tingling suspense and imaginative ways of conveying lessons about loss, grief, and how we are each haunted."
Pioneer Press

More Acclaim in New York City

"The Brothers Paranormal makes for an entertaining ride, but one that will also resonate with anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one."

Broadway World

"An insightful look at how people deal with loss."

Let's Go to the Theater

"Crackles with tension from start to finish! Comedy gives way to terror as its Asian- and African-American characters also battle their own personal demons. It's a fascinating, spellbinding, and heartbreaking experience."


"Spine-tingling! What makes this play special is its ability to constantly surprise us with unexpected twists and turns. This show will intrigue and shock you simultaneously, but yet, fascinatingly, you somehow leave with a sense of hope."

Theater That Matters

"A sublime horror story! "

Times Square Chronicles

More Acclaim in Minneapolis-Saint Paul

"A new must-see thriller! Loaded with heart and even more heartbreak. The most successful comedies use humor to prime the audience for some serious, affirming messages. Gomolvilas' innovation is using the supernatural to make affecting but totally unexpected points about loss, displacement, mental illness, and family."

Star Tribune

"A story that keeps twisting and turning all the way to the end! Ambitiously encompassing topics including climate change and economic inequality, The Brothers Paranormal takes on a lot—but then, so do many families such as these. The show largely succeeds, thanks to a well-crafted, often amusing script, and to strong performances that keep these characters grounded even when they’re climbing the walls."

City Pages

"It's genuinely scary in parts! On the night we saw it, after a scene that made most of us jump in our seats, two women near the front stood up and ran out. It's brilliantly written—spooky, touching, illuminating, funny, sad, and sweet. Also serious and insightful about things like the immigrant experience and mental illness. The Brothers Paranormal includes some big surprises that deserve to be experienced in the theater, in the moment."


"Gomolvilas has devised a pleasingly twisty plot that keeps us engrossed and never tips its hand, and leads to a satisfying, genuinely frightening climax. A well-crafted, highly original play!"

Talkin' Broadway

"A totally captivating thriller! Will have you laughing, jumping out of your seat, and contemplating the deeper issues at play."

Cherry and Spoon

"A thrilling nail-biter! Even the most jaded, experienced theatergoer is likely to find plot twists here that they didn't expect, and it is a really exciting live experience."


"Billed as a ghost story, The Brothers Paranormal begins lightly, with humor and a comic set-up. But scene by scene the play becomes more serious. It is a ripping good yarn with nifty effects and some jolting surprises!"

How Was the Show?

"One truly eerie play! Will likely send chills down your spine."


"At turns horrifying and moving, profound and endearing! The Brothers Paranormal doesn't cut any corners in delivering a thrilling and exciting meditation on the meaning of death and whether people can come back from beyond the grave (and why). The play pushes the outermost boundaries of what we expect in horror theater, with moments easily rivaling the greatest Asian ghost-story films. It fully vindicates a growth in the genre, opening up tantalizing possibilities of what's possible onstage with a resourceful troupe."

Twin Cities Geek

Acclaim in Indianapolis

"The Brothers Paranormal is the perfect concoction to whet your taste buds for ghosts and goblins at Halloween, and at the same time it explores serious issues in a story that is often tinged with gentle humor. You come away feeling touched by its humanity."

On the Aisle

"Engrossing! There were moments audience members were practically jumping out of their seats. There is more to this play than the scares, of course. It fulfills the [theater's] objective of showing and making us consider different cultural and ethnic perspectives. But it also makes one hell of a Halloween-season experience."

Plays with John & Wendy

Acclaim in Portland

"Creepy and poignant! With captivating characters and fantastically scary supernatural effects, the play grips you like a great horror film, but it succeeds because it cares about both the earthly and the unearthly—the anguish of the living and the dead. The Brothers Paranormal is a multifaceted collage of moods and genres."

Oregon ArtsWatch

"Equal parts horror, comedy, and drama! Gomolvilas's script unfolds like a puzzle box, revealing its inner workings in surprising and sometimes audacious ways. When malevolent spirits aren’t terrorizing them, the characters are given the space to find moments of humor and tenderness among them."

The Oregonian

One of the Top Ten Plays of the Year! "[A] touching (and terrifying) exploration of familial bonds and cultural heritage."

Willamette Week

Acclaim in Seattle

"Filled with supernatural elements, horror effects, heart-breaking moments, and honest takes on tough topics, The Brothers Paranormal seems to have too much on its plate. Yet, this is one of the most astonishing plays I have seen in years. Playwright Prince Gomolvilas's well-constructed story speaks to the heart of those who have experienced regret, guilt, isolation, grief, or loss. More than just 'a ghost story,' this heartfelt production is horrifyingly entertaining with countless twists and surprises."

Seattle Chinese Times

"A wonderfully creepy, mostly funny, play with a hint of dark reality that gives it a fuller feeling than 'just' having fun!"

Seattle Gay News

"A roller coaster of emotions! The moments of horror chilled me to the bone and made me forget that it was just a play. It’s good and complex enough that seeing it twice would be worth it."

Drama in the Hood

More Press​​

Penumbra's 2018-19 season is "Beyond Belief"

MinnPost on March 15, 2018

Penumbra Theatre to Revive For Colored Girls and Premiere Emmett Till Follow-Up Next Season

Star Tribune on March 19, 2018

Prince Gomolvilas' Ghost-Story Play The Brothers Paranormal to Debut Off-Broadway

Playbill on March 4, 2019

Photo Flash: Meet the Cast of The Brothers Paranormal at Pan Asian Rep

Broadway World on April 12, 2019

The Brothers Paranormal: Interview with playwright Prince Gomolvilas and director Jeff Liu

Asian America Podcast on April 24, 2019

MediaRites and CoHo Productions Present The Brothers Paranormal 

Broadway World on April 25, 2019

Penumbra, Mu Bring Thriller Brothers Paranormal to the Stage

Pioneer Press on April 29, 2019

Mu, Penumbra Bring a Cross-Cultural Ghost Story to Life

Minnesota Public Radio on April 30, 2019

Bonus: The Brothers Paranormal at Pan Asian Rep (NYC)

We're Not All Ninjas Podcast on May 7, 2019



2011 Developed in the L.A. Writers' Workshop at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, California

2012 First draft completed

2012 Staged reading by East West Players in Los Angeles, California

2013 Staged reading at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in San Francisco, California

2014 Staged reading at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California

2015 Staged reading by Pork Filled Productions in Seattle, California

2016 Staged reading at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York

2016 Staged reading by Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in New York City, New York

2018 Staged reading by Theatre Diaspora in Portland, Oregon

2018 Staged reading by Theatre Mu in Saint Paul, Minnesota


2019 World premiere production by Pan Asian Repertory Theatre at the Beckett Theatre in New York City, New York, directed by Jeff Liu and featuring Brian D. Coats, Natsuko Hirano, Vin Kridakorn, Emily Kuroda, Dawn L. Troupe, and Roy Vongtama

2019 Regional premiere production by Penumbra Theatre & Theatre Mu in Saint Paul, Minnesota, directed by Lou Bellamy and featuring James Craven, Sarah Michelle de Joya, Leslie Ishii, Kurt Kwan, Sherwin Resurreccion, and Regina Marie Williams

2019 Indiana Premiere Production by Fonseca Theatre Company in Indianapolis, Indiana, directed by Bryan Fonseca and featuring Ian Cruz, Kim Egan, Sean Qiu, Dena Toler, Diane Tsao, and Ansley Valentine

2019 West Coast Premiere Production by CoHo Productions & Theatre Diaspora in Portland, Oregon, directed by Catherine Ming T’ien Duffly and featuring Jasper Howard, Elaine Low, Melissa Magaña, Samson Syharath, Lidet Viravong, and Andrea White

2019 Washington Premiere Production by Pork Filled Productions in Seattle, Washington, directed by Mimi Kitano and featuring Ronnie Hill, Margaret Luxamon Hotchkiss, Kathy Hsieh, Sean Nguyen, Van Lang Pham, and Selena Whitaker-Paquiet

Photos from Portland

Photos from Seattle

Roy Vongtama, Vin Kridakorn, Dawn L. Troupe, and Brian D. Coats in "The Brothers Paranormal." Photo by John Quincy Lee.