Grant permission to stage Raymond Chandler's lost operetta in Los Angeles

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!

Thank you for visiting the petition in support of The Princess and The Pedlar, the comic operetta written by Raymond Chandler in 1917, when he was 29. This delightful lost work by the legendary mystery novelist was rediscovered in 2014 by Los Angeles historian and mystery novelist Kim Cooper.

Raymond Chandler wanted the world to believe that he had reinvented himself as a pulp fiction writer at age 45, after he was fired from his oil company job. He deliberately omitted the existence of The Princess and the Pedlar from his bibliography--yet at the end of his life, he gave a copy of the libretto to a young friend, who has treasured it ever since. Now, a top-flight creative team lead by Tony Award-winner Paul Sand has assembled in Los Angeles with the intention of giving The Princess and the Pedlar the theatrical debut that was interrupted by World War I and by the blossoming love affair between Chandler and his co-author's wife.

But we need your help! Even though The Princess and the Pedlar was registered with the Library of Congress in 1917, there is some question of its public domain status. So we reached out The Raymond Chandler Estate, letting them know of the operetta's existence, providing a copy of the libretto and requesting their permission to stage the show. Unfortunately, the Estate refused permission, stating that they consider it nothing more than "a curiosity… and not representative of Chandler's oeuvre." Without their permission, curious fans will have to wait until 2029 to read The Princess and the Pedlar--that's when Chandler's unpublished writing officially enters the public domain.

Raymond Chandler is one of the most beloved and iconic writers of the 20th century. Fans love his noir visions of Philip Marlowe's Los Angeles, but are sophisticated enough to recognize that there was more to Chandler than his crime fiction. With the exception of the Chandler Estate, everyone who we have shown the libretto to has been delighted by its charm, wit and invention and has expressed the hope that the show can go on. 

Kim Cooper, who discovered the uncatalogued libretto in the Library of Congress, says, "Having found it, I feel a great responsibility to do right by Raymond Chandler and Julian Pascal, and to ensure that their wonderful musical comedy is properly produced at last. Please won't you help us bring The Princess and the Pedlar to the stage, by signing and sharing this petition respectfully asking that the Raymond Chandler Estate reconsider, and grant permission for the show to go on?"

With your help and the Estate's permission, Paul Sand and company will stage The Princess and the Pedlar before a live audience in Los Angeles, under the musical direction of Skip Heller and with the support of Sybil Anne Davis, the little girl Raymond Chandler gave his copy of the libretto to for safekeeping almost 60 years ago. We'd love to see you there!