MILLER TIME: The American Clock, a Depression-vintage drama from Arthur Miller, opened up a season of Miller works both old and new, presented by the Signature Theatre Company in its new space (555 West 42nd). . . . Marcus Lovett, whose nine-performance reign as King David initiated the Disney-restored New Amsterdam, is now serving Queen Amarantha at The WPA. Charles Busch wrote this title role himself for himself and is co-directing it with Carl Andress. The woman who stole his Green Heart Ruth Williamson is on board as well. . . . Orson Bean turned director for The Quick-Change Room, Nagle Jackson's comedy about a Russian theatre troupe coping with post-Perestroika. . . . Set designer Tony Walton, who walked quite well on the Wilde side (The Importance of Being Earnest) when he tried directing last season for the Irish Rep, will give Shaw's Major Barbara a whirl for the company this season. . . . Jessica Hecht left her Broadway spot (The Last Night of Ballyhoo at the Helen Hayes) and recently conquered the critics Off-Broadway (Plunge at Playwrights Horizons). . . . Some songs the late Jonathan (Rent) Larson wrote with lyricist Hal Hackaday finally got an airing when their musical about homeless kids, I Made Me a Promise, surfaced at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre on the Upper West Side. One of its producers was actress Susan Sarandon. . . . Two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey currently resides at the Second Stage Theatre in A Madhouse in Goa, a London hit by Martin (Bent) Sherman getting its U.S. premiere by director Nicholas (Full Gallop) Martin. . . . A flight down from the Second Stage, in the Promenade Theatre, Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt are playing up a storm in their 2 Pianos, 4 Hands.
COX AT BAT (AT LAST): The Vineyard Theatre steps up to the plate this month and swings into a new season with The Batting Cage. The clear-cut hit of 1996's Humana Festival in Louisville, Joan Ackermann's eccentric sister-act antic won warm notices for Veanne Cox's performance and Lisa Peterson's direction. Both will repeat their magic for the play's long-time-in-coming New York bow. . . . A different set of sisters, pondering a solution to their mother's growing senility, was unveiled by playwright Paul Minx in Walking on Water at his usual playing stand, the Pulse Ensemble Theatre on W. 42nd. . . . As soon as director Evan Yionoulis gets Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain up and pouring at Manhattan Theatre Club, she will turn her attention to The Maiden's Prayer, Nicky Silver's latest, at the Vineyard. It, too, involves two sisters. . . . Then there's The Betrayal of Nora Blake, which is circling for an opening Off-Broadway with Forbidden Broadway's Gerard Alessandrini in the director's seat. This six-character musical mystery (book and songs by John Meyer) tells of a fashion designer convicted of murder, escaping The Big House by switching clothes with her twin sister.