Hell Bent on the Tent or Phantom of the One Ring takes place in the Ambrose E. Bigtop's Three Ring Circus. When the tight rope walker dies unexpectedly, the top two performers demand his pay. Not having enough for both and not wanting to lose either, Ambrose forces the down-and-out bathroom tenders to come up with $10 or he will fire them and sell the haunted bathroom tent for the extra cash. The bathroom tenders, aka the Kavanaugh brothers, recruit 4 others to help them. They try several schemes, which all fail until they get the idea to put on a vaudeville show to raise the money. The rest unravels from there.
Directed by the Vaudeville’s own James Reiter, the show mixes classic elements of Vaudeville with a 'cartoon' style Melodrama. The actors face the challenge of keeping the show in the range of the early 1900’s while working with a script filled to the brim with pop culture references that range from that era to today. The show is constantly moving with quick banter between four of the main characters, while simultaneously dealing with the melodrama characters interfering within their lives. Hell Bent is a show within a show. The main plot is that of the melodrama, but the main characters have little to do with that story line; they are just the unfortunate victims of the circumstance. The new space fits with this show wonderfully (it was built in 1910); it has so much history in the community, just as vaudeville did with this community and others around the nation.