April – May 2016 By: Margie Jacinto Photography by: David Murphey
Talk about significant others—these four truly are women of substance.
Trying to get Kim Johnson, Michelle Ho, Annie Cusick Wood and Linda Schatz together at the same place at the same time is no easy feat. Between North Shore treks, theater performances and everything else in between, there’s no such thing as playing it by ear—at least when it comes to a group photo! And yet, as busy as they were, they still made it work…
Maybe you voted for Brian Schatz; caught Henry Ian Cusick on television; seen Jack Johnson live in concert; or read about Bank of Hawaii’s accolades under Peter Ho’s leadership. But we also think it’s worth turning the spotlight on their equally accomplished spouses, who have made their own mark in the community.
For Annie Cusick Wood, everything’s coming up trees. From working with Le Jardin Academy’s Christmas tree fundraiser, to helping plant trees in Hamakua Marsh and writing her HTY play The Tiny Tree, it seems that Cusick Wood’s schedule is a forest of activity.
The Scotland native moved to Hawai`i 10 years ago when her husband, Henry Ian Cusick joined the cast of LOST.
Moving here was no small step for Cusick Wood. At the time, she was the Artistic Director of Polka Theatre, a children’s theater in London known for its world-class performances. While there, she gained international acclaim for her productions of The Red Balloon and Martha. Both productions toured North America and had a stint on Broadway.
There, she was a working mom; Henry was the (mostly) stay-at-home dad. “I couldn’t have done it without help,” Cusick Wood says.
When the family moved to Hawai`i, a whole new world—personally and professionally—opened up to her.
“I embraced being a stay-at-home mum. Now, I pay it forward,” she says of her appreciation for the time she spends with her three sons. Remembering those friends in London who did the same for her, she’s eager to lend a hand to fellow parents. She also took time to appreciate her new surroundings, spending time at the beach, and hiking trails.
However, it wasn’t long before the siren call of children’s theater brought Cusick Wood back to the stage, and so she approached Honolulu Theatre for Youth and asked them if they needed help. Soon, she was helping with their fundraising and joined its board of directors. She’s gone on to write and direct Blue,Sort it Out, Peter Rabbit and the Garden, Auntie Martha and the Nene for the theater and her most recent play Th e Tiny Tree, which is currently touring schools. Up next: Baby Blue, a baby theater version (the first of its kind in Hawai`i) of Blue and Home, which delves into houselessness.
“I’ve fit into this role easily,” Cusick Wood says of her knack for writing plays for the younger set. “It has to have a point and a purpose,” she explains. In addition to her work with HTY, she’s worked with HEARTS.
In keeping with her interest in engaging children, Cusick Wood recently started working with Ceeds of Peace, a group that strives to “raise peacebuilders.”
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