When I was young, I was a rock hound, attending gem and mineral shows around the Southland. Once, among displays of pyrite and geodes, I found a box of paper bags, marked “$1 surprise grab bag.” My interest piqued, I bought one and ripped it open, unable to identify the lumpy specimen within. “Arsenic!” a concerned mineralogist told my mother, attempting to buy it back. My tiny mind knew it was a good surprise with a lot of potential. It is with that sense of adventurous possibility that the Hooligan Theatre Company and UCLA's ACT III Theatre Ensemble present the 24-Hour Musical, wherein a musical meeting three criteria (it must be well-known, fun and employ a big cast) is rehearsed, songs and all, costumed and teched within 24 hours, culminating in the performance. Although the musical is picked months in advance, it and its roles are kept secret from the cast and crew until 8 p.m. on the night before the performance. Yes, actors fudge their lines, improvise, even erupt in laughter — but it's all to benefit No Limits, a local charity that empowers hearing-impaired children through theater. Previous productions have included Grease and Guys and Dolls. Ackerman Union Grand Ballroom, UCLA, 405 Hilgard Ave., Wstwd. Sun., Feb. 5, 2-11 p.m.; call for ticket details: (310) 363-0482; ucla24hrshow@gmail.com.

Sun., Feb. 5, 8 p.m., 2012

LA Weekly