Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton’s musical, The Beautiful Game, opened at the Cambridge Theatre, London in September 2000, and has was later retitled to The Boys in the Photograph.

Ben Elton tells their story with humour and compassion, with lyrics that are both funny and heartbreaking. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s evocative score combines heart-searing ballads and stirring anthems with the sounds of Ireland. This powerful and passionate musical is a joyous celebration of the freedom that love can bring.

Set in Northern Ireland in the troubled 1970s, the musical is the story of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation and follows the fortunes of a group of teenagers, all members of a local soccer team, and their friends.

Under the watchful eye of team coach Father O’Donnell, John and Del both show enough promise to pursue careers as professional footballers. They’re just two regular teenagers who dream of nothing more than girls and football. When they find love with their girlfriends Mary and Christine, they become swept up in the events that engulf their community and, as time passes, each has to decide whether or not to follow their hearts.

Music By Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics By Ben Elton
Book By Ben Elton
Original Direction By Robert Carsen
Original Choreography By Meryl Tankard
Opened 26 September 2000 at The Cambridge Theatre in London
Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards
Best Musical award

Music Releases

The Beautiful Game

Original London Cast

TV & Movies

Royal Albert Hall Celebration


Licensing The Beautiful Game

Interested in staging a fantastic production of The Beautiful Game with your school or group? Find out more at our official licensing website, or via your local licensing agent*.

*Applications are subject to individual review and availability will differ depending on your group type, location, venue size and proposed dates.