A short, stout man “in his best years”, Karlsson first flew into Lillebror’s and all readers’ hearts in 1955, when the first book about him was published. Thanks to a propeller attached to his back, Karlsson has been in the air pretty much ever since, and now he’s flown unto the stage of the Malmö Opera, in the shape of a new musical composed by Thomas Lindahl.

“What’s most important is to feel completely free in relation to all the hierarchies of adult life,” says Lindahl when asked how one composes music for children. The musical “Karlsson på taket” has little dialogue, most things are said in songs, and Lindahl uses two instruments typical for the 1950’s – the vibraphone and the jazz guitar – to give the show a feel of the times in which the plot unfolds.
Karlsson is played by Samuel Jarrick, and he’s not the usual rotund Karlsson with suspenders you remember. Instead he sports pink nail polish, cowboy boots, and a jacket of burgundy velvet.


“Karlsson has his own rules, which I think could be inspiring to many,” Jarrick says. “Lillebror develops and learns how to set limits for Karlsson.” Lillebror is played by tenor Leif Aruhn-Solén. “It’s music that’s easy to sing along to, but it also has lots of parts to it,” he explains. “It’s like a puzzle, or a mathematical formula. Simple, yet very difficult.” And the message? That adults often are boring and rational.
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Karlsson på taket