An African America woman whose maternal roots are deeply embedded in Midwestern soil, Annette Louise Murrell, Ph.D., CPSWS (Dr Diva) has spent the majority of her life in Lincoln, Nebraska where she has earned recognition as a singer, actress, and writer.
As a singer, Dr Diva has performed at practically every Nebraska venue including the Zoo Bar, the Lincoln Community Playhouse, the Loft at the Mill, James Arthur Vineyards, the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, and the Lied Center for the Performing Arts. She has also been a guest vocalist twice with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, and numerous times with the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra. Dr Diva has also appeared as a guest artist on the recordings of trumpeter Mac McCune, as well as the Nebraska Jazz Orchestra. Dr Diva has recorded two albums, My Shining Hour and Annette Murrell: Live at the Zoo Bar! She has also done radio voice work and jingles. Dr Diva was also featured in the NET Television original documentary Hard Times Swing, which explores the history of swing bands in the Midwest during the Depression.
As an actress, Dr Diva has performed lead roles in numerous theatrical productions in Nebraska including: Working, Nunsense, A Little Hotel on the Side, Ain't Misbehavin', Sound of Music, Big River, On the Twentieth Century, She Loves Me, and Smokey Joe's Café. She has also performed at the Firehouse Theatre in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In addition, Dr Diva hosted the NET Television music showcase Backstage Pass, and she has been featured in several training films and local television commercials.
Educated at Stanford, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dr Diva has taught writing and literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Southeast Community College, and Metropolitan Community College. Dr Diva has published essays and poetry in a variety of publications, including the anthologies Caven Canem Anthology XII:Poems 2008-2009 and Times of Sorrow/Times of Grace: Writing by Women of the Great Plains/High Plains, and the academic and literary journals a/b: Auto/biography Studies, Proteus, and Prairie Schooner. After graduate school, Dr Diva studied poetry and fiction writing at Bread Loaf writer's retreat during the summer of 2000. In May 2004, she was awarded a three-year fellowship to the Cave Canem Workshop/Retreat for African American Poets, which is held annually at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr Diva's poetry book, I wanna be a bad woman, was published by her press Good Works, Ink. in September 2007.
Dr Diva has won numerous community awards, including six KZUM (Lincoln's community radio station) music awards and the 1992 Woman Artist of the Year award from the Lincoln-Lancaster Commission on the Status of Women. She is the recipient of the 2015 Mayor's Legacy of the Arts Award.
Currently, Dr Diva is a Peer Specialist working in the Refugee Education and Employment Program at Lutheran Family Services. In addition, she has been the Weekend Morning Host for NET Radio, Nebraska's NPR Station for over a decade. She is also a regularly featured vocalist for 11:59@First-Plymouth. Her hobbies include sewing, crocheting, reading comic books, and watching classic film noir and listening to old time radio detective shows.
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