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CNN Live Event/Special

Europe Counts Down To Midnight; Paris To Set Off Fireworks Along The Champs-Elysees; Australia and East Asia Ring In 2023; Stepping Up Self-Care In The New Year; Actor Geena Davis Welcomes 2023 With CNN; Lagos Welcoming 2023 With Fireworks, Light Show, Party; World Welcomes 2023; France's Top Pastry Chefs Create Holiday Delicacies; Neil Diamond Musical Dazzles Fans On Broadway; Athens Counting Down To 2023. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired December 31, 2022 - 16:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: That is Dubai ringing in the New Year just an hour ago with a massive fireworks display there. Happy New Year to all of those celebrating around the globe. I'm Lynda Kinkade joining you from CNN's World Headquarters here in Atlanta. I'll be with you for the next four hours for our New Year's Eve Special Broadcast.

And we have a star studded lineup of guests. From the bright lights of Broadway with the cast of "The Beautiful Noise," the highly anticipated musical based on the life and music of Neil Diamond, to a New Year's toast with Theo James, the star of the Emmy winning show "The White Lotus."

And we are just minutes away from New Year's Eve in Mombasa, Kenya and at the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, Turkey. CNN's Scott McLean is in Istanbul while our Larry Madowo is in Mombasa. Good to have you both with us. Happy New Year.

I want to start with you first, Scott. You're in Istanbul, one of the only places in the world that can celebrate New Year's Eve in two continents.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right. We're just literally minutes, maybe seconds away from the fireworks display here right on the Bosphorus Strait. On the other side of the strait is the Asian Istanbul. As you said, we're just on the very tip of Europe. And you can see there are tons of people that have come. They are lined up here on the waterfront. They are packed several deep.

You can see really they're up on the planter boxes there. They're up on any kind of height that they can find to get their heads above this massive crowd. Just literally five minutes ago we had all the space in the world and now suddenly as we get close to midnight, we have no space at all.

Obviously, Lynda, like many countries in the world, Turkey has had a pretty rough go in 2022, with inflation biting particularly hard energy prices. The currency has really taken a hit as well. [16:00:10]

And so, when you talk to people in this country, I can't say that there's a whole ton of optimism in 2023, but people are definitely hoping that people will better off in 2023 than they were in 2020. And it seems like we're just about midnight. Yes, we're just at midnight right now. Fireworks haven't started but I think it's 2023 right now in Istanbul. So happy New Year's from Turkey, Lynda.

KINKADE: Happy New Year there. Great to have you there in Istanbul for us, Scott.

I want to go to Larry who already tonight we have seen riding on a donkey. Just give us a sense of the celebrations in Mombasa.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happy New Year from Mombasa. That's spectacular --

KINKADE: And as you can see, plenty of celebrations happening there in Kenya. If we've still got Scott with us in Istanbul, I want to go back to Scott. Of course, there is a famous lottery that happens in Turkey this time of year at midnight. If Scott's with us, I'm wondering if he does have a ticket to that lottery.

Scott, can you hear me? Do you have a ticket to that famous lottery that is taking place any moment? Missing Scott there but I want to go to celebrations that we're covering all around the globe over the next few hours and I want to welcome my friend and colleague Christina MacFarlane who joins us from London to capture all the action. So wonderful to see you. Happy New Year, Chrissy.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happy New Year, Lynda. As you maybe can hear from behind me, the party is just getting started here in London. We are three hours from the New Year and I can tell you that people are beginning to flood to the streets, to the bank of the River Thames where I am just here to the left of me. I can see Big Ben over the corner of my eye. That is going to strike at midnight. And behind me, we might just be able to make out the outline of the London eye, which of course is going to be the scene of the fireworks here.

Historic fireworks back for the first time since the start of the COVID pandemic. We're expecting 100,000 people out here on the streets. We've heard there's going to be about 2,000 people in small boats just behind me in a flatilla of sorts.

So stay with us. I can't wait to be anchoring with you, Lynda, for the next three hours. I want to go to our other reporters who are standing by across Europe that helping us to ring in 2023. In Athens, Greece, we have Elinda Labropoulou and in Paris we have our Melissa Bell, both of whom counting down to the New Year.

And in Athens, let's go to Elinda first because New Year is upon you, Elinda, how are people preparing there? What is the atmosphere like? I can see a bit of a party behind you.

ELINDA LABROPOULOU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There is a big stage right behind me. And this is the heart of Athens. This is where all the celebrations are taking place. So we're now starting to have of live music building up towards midnight. The crowds are growing. Everybody's gathering for the big fireworks display.

There's a lot of anticipation. People have come a long way just to be here tonight. And there are a lot of foreign visitors as well as Athens has increasingly becoming more of a year round destination. The hotels are full, tables are full in restaurants, and there's a lot more champagne than (inaudible) tonight around Athens.

And right after the big fireworks display, the municipality has promised a really big party that will go on until the early morning hours. I'll tell you this, there's one thing everybody across Greece is waiting for, and I will show you what that is. There's a special cake that we cut right after midnight or the day after. It's called a Basil pie. It's because it's named after St. Basil, who's the person who brings the gift. So the gifts in Greece arrive. They come on New Year's Day, not Christmas.

And then, what happen is people cut this pie, there's a coin baked in, and whoever gets the coin is the fortunate one for the year. So this is one of the most traditional things that will happen in every household across Greece tonight.

MACFARLANE: Fantastic. We love traditions at New Year. That is what it is all about, of course. Elinda, we will be checking back with you at the top of the hour.


I want to switch though to Paris where Melissa Bell is standing by. I can see, Melissa, the Eiffel Tower lit up. Isn't she beautiful tonight? Tell us what we're going to see in Paris. The French do know how to party.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's really new, Christina. In fact, I'll get out of the way so you can enjoy the Eiffel Tower spotting tonight. It is two hours to midnight here in the French capital and I'm just going to take you around the (inaudible) to show you what's happening down there.

People are arriving because in two hours time we're going to have a fireworks display up there, the (inaudible). In the meantime, it's a lightened sound show that we're expecting and it is half a million people that are expected to turn up here on the Champs-Elysees. They're beginning to gather. We were just down there, extraordinary scenes. A lot of French people, a lot of families out there, a lot of kids with their parents, a lot of tourists as well.

People telling us it was their dream to come to Paris for New Year's Eve and here they are. There are of course, a lot of policemen out there, some 5,400 keeping the peace tonight in Paris to make sure that everything goes according to plan. But it should be a fairly spectacular night, two hours to go before we bring in 2023 here in the French capital, Christina. MACFARLANE: I can just about hear you, Melissa. I'm not going to lie, it's getting pretty louder here in London. But we know that Paris always celebrates in the most spectacular way. I know President Macron has also given his New Year's address in the past hour. We'll be coming back to you in the hours ahead.

But for now, let's throw it back to my colleague Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta for more on the hour ahead.

KINKADE: It looks spectacular where you are, Christina. I'll check in with you in just a moment. Thanks so much.

Well, it has already been 2023 welcomed in Australia and in East Asia. And from Sydney to Taipei and Hong Kong, fireworks lit up the sky, music filled the air as revelers welcomed in the New Year. Here's a look back at some of the best celebrations of the day so far.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to 2023 Sydney, Australia.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The dynamic lights display their, Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea. To everyone there in the street ushering in a brand new year, happy New Year.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An incredible sight here in Hong Kong. This is the first time I've seen fireworks over the Hong Kong harbor in almost three years. Wow, this really feels like a new beginning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taiwan's reopening to the world after three years of pandemic. This is an island, this is a democracy that is ready to showcase a positive message of peace on earth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) just ushered in a brand new year. It's 2023 there as well.


KINKADE: Well, I want to go now to Times Square where we have some pictures just coming into us. You can see right now that the crowds are gathering. The streets have been closed, security has been stepped up. And we will, of course, go live to Times Square in the coming hours in our special coverage, of course, beginning with Anderson and Andy at 8:00 PM Eastern. So stay with us for that.

You are watching CNN Special Coverage New Year's Eve. Still to come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey everybody, we are here on Broadway at Broadhurst Theatre and a beautiful noise, the Neil Diamond musical, wishing you a happy New Year.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Happy New Year.

KINKADE (voice-over): Broadway is back. We are going to take a look at what is in store for 2023. Stay with us.



GEENA DAVIS, ACTRESS: Happy New Year. To everyone watching around the world, have a wonderful 2023. Cheers.


KINKADE: That, of course, is two-time Oscar winning actress Geena Davis. I have a special interview coming up with her in the coming hours. Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. You're joining us. We're here in Atlanta.

And for the past few years, of course, it's been pretty tumultuous for all of us, especially with the world battling the COVID-19 pandemic. But as we kick off 2023, there are ways to take care of yourself, not just your physical health but your mental health. And with us to discuss all of this, I want to welcome CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard here in her glittering glory to celebrate the New Year, and talk to us about what has been. And, of course, I want to reflect on the COVID pandemic because it feels like we are back to a sense of normality.

But, of course, with that and the easing of restrictions, especially in China, comes some risks. So, please talk to us about the state of COVID right now.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Lynda, with the state of COVID I feel like there's good news and bad news. So, the good news is we have built up as a global society, this community immunity. That's because we have immunity induced from vaccinations as well as, sadly, previous infection also allows for natural immunity. So we do have community immunity and we are seeing a slight rise in cases, but nowhere near what previous surges and waves have been. So that's good.

Now here's the bad news --

KINKADE: The catch.

HOWARD: The catch. As we live with COVID, we know that the more it spreads, the more it mutates, which can lead to more variance. So moving forward into the New Year, the thing we really have to do as a society is be careful with how much spread is happening and keep a close eye on what variance may emerge moving forward. And a lot of scientists right now are looking at a surge in China that's happening and they're concerned about what so many infections could that lead to the emergence of a new variant.

So there's that aspect of it as well. I think for all of us, the best advice to reduce spread is, of course, stay up to date on your vaccines, test before you travel. And still it's important to wear a mask and light crowded airports and on airplanes, and stay home if you're sick. Those are the major takeaways.


KINKADE: Good advice. And, of course, as we get very busy in this post-COVID world, there is a need to kind of step back and focus on our physical health, but also our emotional wellbeing and mental health. What are your tips?

HOWARD: Yes. You know what it's interesting how physical health and mental health are so interconnected. And, I mean, science shows that the more healthy you are physically, that can lead to fewer depressive symptoms. And then vice versa when you invest in your mental health, that can also benefit your physical health. I do have a top five list of ways --

KINKADE: That's what I want to hear.

HOWARD: Yes, yes. Ways to improve your mental health, specifically, number one, practicing gratitude that shows benefits for mental health. Number two, staying physically healthy. Like I said, they're interconnected. Number three, social connectedness, keeping with your social connections. And it's interesting here in the US, our surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, he said that loneliness is one of our biggest public health problems right now.


HOWARD: Yes. So keeping up with your friendships and having those social connections. And then coping skills when you're stressed, knowing what works for you like breathing is a good coping skill or counting backwards from ten. And then, if you do see that you're struggling, seek help. Talk to your doctor, find, you know, any help that you can get. And to me, I think those are the top five things to practice in the New Year.

KINKADE: I think they're good tips. As we discuss gratitude, I'm grateful for champagne. I feel like we should have a New Year's toast. Gratitude really is -- some of the tips you mentioned actually, I do with my children. We talk about gratitude every night in terms of what they're thankful for during the day, especially if they've had a bad day.

HOWARD: Yes. And, you know, science shows that when you do that, when you practice gratitude, especially like keeping a gratitude journal at night and listing things that you're thankful for, that's actually associated with better sleep. So doing that with your kids is helping them get like a quality night's sleep.

And also another scientific data point here with gratitude. One study showed that people who practiced a gratitude list, like when you write down what you're thankful for, that's associated with fewer depressive symptoms. And researchers compared that with people who wrote a list each day of like errands they had to run or things to do. So, I mean, science shows gratitude is really beneficial for your health.

KINKADE: Well, here is to gratitude. Here is to 2023.

HOWARD: Here is to gratitude.

KINKADE: Thank you so much for joining us.

HOWARD: Cheers.

KINKADE: Happy New Year.

HOWARD: Happy New Year, Lynda.

KINKADE: What are you toasting to?

HOWARD: You know what, I am toasting to this year. I'm going to practice easing into my morning, practicing gratitude in the morning, stretching, doing breathing exercises. That's my New Year resolution to have like a better start to my day. And that's what I'm going toast to.

KINKADE: I agree. I think just practicing, just focusing again on physical health and making time for that, because in my case it's the first thing that I drop when I get busy with kids and work. I'm like, I'll do that tomorrow. But here is to good health. Happy 2023.

HOWARD: Happy 2023.

KINKADE: That is good.

HOWARD: Absolutely. Cheers.

KINKADE: Cheers. Well, I'm going to move to my next guest who needs no introduction, but we are going to give her one anyway. Take a look.



GEENA DAVIS AS THELMA: I'll have a wild turkey straight up and a Coke, please.


GEENA DAVIS AS THELMA: Oh what? Tell me something. Is this my vacation or isn't it?

KINKADE (voice-over): I am talking about Thelma star at "Thelma and Louise," the one and only Geena Davis. Now, she is an Academy Award winning actress who can do it all. She's done comedy and Beetle Juice, and a league of their own drama in "The Accidental Tourist," and, of course, the thriller in "The Long Kiss Good Night." She is also a producer, an athlete and a mother.

And she's a writer. Her memoir, "Dying of Politeness," was published in October, and she joined me to welcome in the New Year. Geena Davis, it's an absolute honor to have you on the show. I am a huge fan. Happy New Year.

GEENA DAVIS, ACTRESS: Happy New Year. Thank you.

KINKADE: So if you would allow me, I would love to wind back the clock and play one of my favorite films, "A League of Their Own." Let's just play of that.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to have 14, 16 girls to a team. Some of you are going to have to go home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of them are going home.


KINKADE: You're not just a phenomenal actress, you're an incredible athlete. Was that discovered during the making of that film?

DAVIS: You know what, yes, because I was -- my thing was always being the tallest kid, and I was very physically shy, I would call it. And so, I didn't want to try sports but then I get cast in this part where I have to be the best baseball player ever. And so I had to learn it, and I turned out to be kind of good at it.


And I was like, wow, I'm athletic. It just took him till I was 36 to find that out.

KINKADE: Yes. You went on to become a champion at archery.

DAVIS: I got pretty good, yes.

KINKADE: Incredible. But you've been reflecting on your life in your new memoir, "Dying of Politeness." Looking back at your incredible co- stars, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Samuel L. Jackson, Dustin Hoffman. Do you have a favorite and who gave you the best advice?

DAVIS: Well, let's see. My first job was on "Tutsi" when I worked with Dustin, and he was an incredible mentor. He decided he was going to teach me everything I needed to know about the business. And so that was fantastic. But working with Susan Sarandon really changed my life. Because I got to spend three months with someone who very naturally and easily said what she thought. And believe it or not, that was foreign to me. I was used to just being the main thing is for people to like you and don't ever have an opinion.

KINKADE: Geena, I have heard some of your co-stars speak about movies they've been in with you. Like Samuel L. Jackson loves to re-watch "Long Kiss Goodnight." Are there any films that you've made that you like to re-watch?

DAVIS: Oh, God. You know, it's embarrassing but I've watched all of my movies multiple times. I can't believe how many times I've seen "League of Their Own" and "Long Kiss Goodnight" and "Thelma and Louise." Those are my favorite. Also, "The Fly" is really great to see in a theater with people because all the screaming and people yelling in theater with people because all those screaming (inaudible) yelling in the theater don't go in there, he's a fly.

KINKADE: Do you have a favorite? Of all the films you've done, not only to work on it but to watch it? Like, is there a stand out for you?

DAVIS: I can't pick between "Thelma and Louise" and "Long Kiss. Goodnight." I mean, both of those roles were so incredible and the character changed so much in the course of just a few days. And I love them both equally. I can't pick which I like better.

KINKADE: Worst made up story about Geena Davis. Go.

DAVIS: So the worst made up thing is this list on IMDb. It's just a comment. It's not IMDb itself. So the lists -- all of these movies that I auditioned for were turned down, including "Terminator" and "Fatal Attraction." And I didn't auditioned for any of those, none of those. I didn't even hear about them until they came out. That stuff is not true.

KINKADE: What is Geena Davis watching in 2023? What are you looking forward to watching and reading?

DAVIS: I'm really looking forward to seeing "The Whale." I've heard so much about it and "Babylon" with my friend Brad Pitt in it. You know, I've seen lots of movies. I love to go to the movies already, but those are two that I'm really looking forward to.

KINKADE: Do you go to a private theater when you go to the movies, or do you get mobbed and just --

DAVIS: No, that's a whole other level of celebrity. I get people who say, hey, aren't you Geena Davis or aren't you Julia Roberts, I've heard.

KINKADE: You both have big smiles.

DAVIS: Yes, yes. We both have big smiles. But no, if they don't know you're going to be there, it's fine.

KINKADE: And the hopes you've got for the next year, your own personal hopes. What do you want to achieve in 2023?

DAVIS: I'd like to get more disciplined about my life. I fell into very random patterns during COVID and all that, where it didn't matter when I went to sleep or woke up, because every day was blending into the next. And why not binge the entire series in one night because what difference does it make? I haven't really successfully got back into a normal rhythm but I hope to this year. KINKADE: Well, what New Year's Eve is complete without a champagne toast? Would you like to do the honors and pop the bottle?

DAVIS: Sure. You want to always keep your hand on the cork so it doesn't pop unexpectedly.

KINKADE: Happy New Year.

DAVIS: Happy New Year. Hold on. You've been used to it, great.

KINKADE: All right. I'll have some champagne, thanks.

DAVIS: Happy New Year, Lynda.

KINKADE: Happy New Year, Geena. All the best for 2023


DAVIS: Thank you.

KINKADE: Wonderful chat there with Geena Davis, very humble actress. We have plenty more coming up in this show, of course. What is New Year's Eve without fireworks? I want to take you now to Bangkok where the sky has lit up. Stay with us. We'll have much more in just a moment.



SELLY RABY KANE, SENEGALESE FASHION DESIGNER: What I hope for 2023 is fairness during this year of preparation of elections, caring for the youth of Senegal, because it's our space, it's our creative space. It has always been. So that's that is my main concern and my main (inaudible) right now.


KINKADE: You're watching fireworks in the United Arab Emirates, welcoming 2023. That happened last hour. Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. We are celebrating New Year's Eve right around the world.

The New Year is turning towards Western Europe and West Africa, and that's where our correspondents are getting excited. CNN's Stephanie Busari is in Lagos, Nigeria for us. Our Christina MacFarlane is in London, and Melissa Bell joins us from Paris. Good to have you all with us.

I'll start with you first, Stephanie. Of course, New Year's Eve is about 30 minutes away there. What can we expect?

STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lynda, I'm at the most famous roundabout in the city and the excitement is palpable. Later on here, just before midnight, the sky is going to lit light up with a fireworks display. But this roundabout is really famous with stunning display of light which you can see behind me. These lights open in November and organizers say about 3,000 people have flocked here every day to visit these lights, which are at the length of this entire street.


And really it's part of the festive season here that people love to celebrate. There's even a special name for it. It's known here as Detty December. And it's all about fun, fun, fun. People come from all around the world to party every day of this week, every day of this month rather. And today is really the culmination of 30 days of partying, Lynda.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR: That is a lot of partying. They must be exhausted by now. But hold it together for the next 30 minutes. We will come --

BUSARI: I'm definitely exhausted.

KINKADE: We'll come back to you soon, Stephanie. Thanks so much.

I want to bring in Christina MacFarlane in London. Christina, you're one of the lucky 100,000 people to be on the banks of the River Thames to watch the fireworks in the coming hours and, of course, London returning to its pre-COVID glory tonight.

CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There's a lot of excitement in the capital tonight, Lynda. London's iconic fireworks display back for the first time since the start of COVID. As you said, we are expecting about 100,000 people to turn out. We've heard rumor of 2,000 people arriving on small flotillas on the Thames, which is just in the left of me here.

And it is a truly international crowd since COVID restrictions have lifted who have flooded to London to see these fireworks. I've been talking to a couple of the members of the public here. Let's just have a word with this gentleman. You, I believe, have come all the way from the Netherlands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's correct.

MACFARLANE: Why have you come to London?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To spend New Year's here, I believe it's a magical place.

MACFARLANE: What are you expecting to see tonight with these fireworks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope to see like the most perfect, amazing fireworks show of my life honestly.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, yes. I've always just seen it at home in our street and I think this is completely something else.

MACFARLANE Well, welcome to London. It's great to have you here. Let's move on to this gentleman. Are you a Brit or are you from abroad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm British, yes.

MACFARLANE: Fantastic. Tell me why -- are you from London yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm from the South Coast.

MACFARLANE: OK. Why do you come all the way to London tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see the amazing fireworks, yes.

MACFARLANE: Tell me, you've been queuing for some four hours or so, right?


MACFARLANE: But you have got a ticket.


MACFARLANE: OK. And what is it about the last year do you think that Brits will look back on and remember, I wouldn't say most fondly because it has been an up and down year, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's been a special year with the Queen passing and the whole country coming together, it's been very special. Yes.

MACFARLANE: OK. Well, I'll speak to this lady as well because I believe you were from the UK. What have been your most favorite moments as we look back on 2022?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lioness winning the Cup in those years.

MACFARLANE: Absolutely. The Lioness', right? Anyone here? No, I think it's just us, Lioness. And of course, we've got the World Cup coming up next year with the women. Do you hope to see them do the double?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Finger cross, yes.

MACFARLANE: And just one more word. I believe that you have traveled all the way from Mexico. Why is it that you want to be in London so much?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I read about the event. I think it's wonderful, all the fireworks and I travel from very far away to stay here.

MACFARLANE: OK. Well, we hope it lives up to your expectations tonight. Final word, looking ahead to 2023, I'll speak to you. What do you most want to see in 2023?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the King's coronation will be special and, yes, just hopefully a good year.

MACFARLANE: It's going to be. Thank you very much. Thank you, all of you. It is obviously going to be a massive talker, Lynda, heading into the New Year. The King's coronation after the year we've had, the royal highs and lows, of course, the Queen's death, I think very much front and center in most people's minds as we look back and think about the biggest moments of this year.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly a huge year. And I know you were not far from that spot when the Queen was lying in state waiting for hours in line to pay respect. We will again chat to you very soon. Chrissy MacFarlane, good to see you there in London.

I want to bring in Melissa Bell in Paris. Paris, of course, known for its delectable pastries, but there is one pastry that is particularly special New Year's Eve. And I understand you've been getting some tips.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Lynda. We've been visiting with one of the famous chefs here in Paris. In the meantime, though, I just like to show you the Champs-Elysees right now. There's about an hour and a half to go, Lynda, before midnight here in Paris. That is what it looks like.

Now, for the first time in two years, we're going to have that fireworks display and a light and sound show. It should be absolutely extraordinary. It is half a million people that are going to be here to watch it. But yes, I had the supreme privilege of being able to go and see inside one of the palaces here in Paris, one of those extraordinary creations being made just for tonight.


BELL (voice-over): It's in the kitchens of Paris' Palace Hotels that art is made each day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome. Here is the kitchen.


BELL (voice-over): Pastry transform owned by Instagram made to be seen as well as eaten. Pastry chefs now internet superstars like Nicolas Guercio of the Hotel Lutetia whose painstakingly working on your New Year's Eve creation as ambitious as it will be ephemeral.

NICOLAS GUERCIO, CHEF: I get my fan and then I try to get the main ID, more or less to see what I'm going to do and how I'm going to do it.

BELL (voice-over): Working with sugar, like you would work with glass.

GUERCIO: Yes, exactly. If you just go like that, you can cut yourself to that exactly the same.

Everything that you will see. Stuff like that, just water and sugar. It's unbelievable. It's just something like very liquid. It's going to be fragile and work like glass. 68, 69, 70, right. Now, it's going to cool down. I got to go quit cook actually because you see, it already start to break. You see, it's already hard here. Every time I pull and fold, you will have some air between because of the air, we can have something like quit shiny. (Inaudible) my little petal.

BELL (voice-over): And the end result, a rose more beautiful than nature.

GUERCIO: Almost.

BELL: Has pastry changed as a result of the fact that we are looking at it on Instagram? Yes.

GUERCIO: Exactly. Now, pastry, we have to be very precise and very clean and very neat, because we want to have something very Instagramable. Social network really help us to put us on the first step.

BELL: Why do you need a hairdryer? I'm curious

GUERCIO: Actually, we're going to use it as a strong fan to cool down the sugar show pieces, to make sure they stick properly to each other. Or otherwise it will move slowly because it's still warm in the center.

BELL: Of course, the higher it gets, the more complicated it becomes.

GUERCIO: Exactly.

BELL: The riskier.

GUERCIO The riskier but we love risk, right? I mean, I should keep quiet, maybe, before I fall down.

BELL: Are you getting to the end? This is the finished product.

GUERCIO: Almost. A piece of gold. When you think about an hour ago, it was just water and sugar, something very quick. And now it's hard like stone and just like stand like that. It's very cold. Happy New Year.

BELL (voice-over): A work of art to be enjoyed at the hotel's New Year's Eve party. A treat for the eye even more than the palate and that will only last for a few days into 2023.


BELL: Now, sadly, Lynda, I can't share with you the smell of that kitchen. It was absolutely extraordinary. Here on Champs-Elysees tonight, of course, it will be a sight for the year. The music started even now for the eyes. There are so many tourists down there who've come to Paris especially to bring in 2023. Half a million people shortly will be here to watch that fireworks display. More than 3,000 fireworks that will be launched in order to help bring the tourists, the Parisians, everyone to bring them to 2023, Lynda.

KINKADE: Melissa, that pastry looked too good to eat. Spectacular. Thanks so much for joining us. We will catch up with you as the minutes ticked down to midnight in Paris. Thanks so much.

And stay with us. If you're joining us from around the world, we have much more coming up on the show, including the story of a legendary singer coming to life on Broadway. We'll bring you one of the hottest new shows to round out 2022. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lynda and Christina, happy New Year. from the cast of the first national tour of "Tina," the Tina Turner musical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wishing you, the team at CNN and all of your viewers, simply the best 2023.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Happy New Year.

KINKADE: Thanks to the cast and crew of "Tina the Musical." Well, the lights are bright once again on Broadway after the COVID pandemic forced the longest shutdown in its history. There is now a full roster of shows on tap for theater loving fans. And I got the chance to speak of some of the creatives behind the Neil Diamond musical, "A Beautiful Noise," one of the hottest new shows in town.


KINKADE (voice-over): The life of one of the bestselling artists of all time now set on stage.

Neil diamond was a kid from Brooklyn, New York who had planned to enter medical school. Instead, he entered the Music Hall of Fame. Tony nominee Will Swenson stars as the younger Neil Diamond.

WILL SWENSON, ACTOR: I think the secret to doing this show is lots of sleep and lots of caffeine maybe.

KINKADE (voice-over): Another Tony nominee, Mark Jacoby plays Diamond now.

MARK JACOBY, ACTOR: I'm still counting.

KINKADE: So you play title roles in "The Phantom of the Opera," the judging Sweeney Todd, the wizard in "Wicked," what was it like when you heard that you had the role of Neil Diamond?

JACOBY: A bit overwhelming, frankly, because it's not just playing Neil Diamond. The show is about Neil Diamond. It's his life. In the case of our rehearsals here in New York, in front of that person, seven to eight feet away, but it's so hard not to be thinking about what does he think and how is he reacting to this. Does he hate me or does he love me or something in between.

KINKADE (voice-over): Neil Diamond toured for nearly 50 years. But in 2018, he was forced to stop after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In a note in the Play Bill, he says my heart and soul would tour until the day I die if only my body would cooperate.

KINKADE: What input did Neil have in the show? Because I understand you went to his house with a draft of this musical.

ANTHONY MCCARTEN, WRITER: Yes, I was kind of misled. They said, just deliver it. When I got there, they invited me in and seated me down at this table and said, can you perform the entire musical for me? And I was like, what? Here we go. At one, lights up Neil and do the whole thing. It was kind of terrifying. But at the end he said, get your producer on the telephone. So we call the producer and he spoken to the phone. Three words, I'm a believer.

KINKADE (voice-over): "I 'm A Believer," words from the hit song Neil Diamond wrote for the Monkees, a clear endorsement. New Zealander Anthony McCarten, four-time Academy award nominee is the show's writer. He's also the screenwriter behind the Winston Churchill drama, "The Darkest Hour" and the Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody."

(on camera): People go for the music, but they want a good story, right?

MCCARTEN: Oh, absolutely do. Not only want a good story, they want to hear something they've never heard before.

BELL (voice-over): Four time Tony nominee Steven Hoggett did the choreography.

STEVEN HOGGETT, CHOREOGRAPHER: With a show like this, creating big fire energy, watch that moments is in the music.

KINKADE (voice-over): Broadway was battered by COVID.

(on camera): For 18 months Broadway shut down, went dark. What impact did that have on you and other performers?

JACOBY: There was nothing, literally nothing in the way of live theater. So it was devastating. You know, I know so many people who left the business and without any intention of coming back.

KINKADE (voice-over): The longest running show ever, "The Phantom of the Opera," is set to close in April, 35 years after opening on Broadway because it was struggling to sell enough tickets to offset costs. Attendance in January was the lowest it had been since 2003. Now the Broadway League says capacity is closer to 90% and shows like Tina are once more touring.


(on camera): Here on Broadway, theater goers is starting to return in large numbers after the longest shutdown in history, and things never seemed so good.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): So good. So good. So good.

KINKADE: So you're a local New Yorker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am a local New Yorker.

KINKADE: What's it like having Broadway back close to full capacity? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's amazing. It was a really dark two years.

KINKADE (voice-over): Remarkably, when the curtains rose on opening night, Neil Diamond willed his body to perform once more.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Happy New Year.


KINKADE: And don't blame me if you have that song in your head for the rest of the night. Well in 2022, many people were still reluctant to head back to theaters. And despite that, we got a lot of blockbusters like "Top Gun: Maverick," the long awaited second Avatar movie and "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

Well, next year is shaping up to be another big year for the movies, and our Chloe Melas shows us what we can look forward to in 2023.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Nintendo fans are gearing up for the Super Mario Brothers movie set to release in April. Actor Chris Pratt is the voice of Mario in the new animated film based on the iconic video game. The famous plumber and his brother Luigi travel through the Mushroom Kingdom in a quest to save a captured princess. Other big names lending their voices to the film include Anya Taylor- Joy, Jack Black and Seth Rogen.

CHRIS PRATT AS PETER QUILL: Hello. We come in peace.

MELAS (voice-over): Pratt also stars in the latest from Marvel Studios, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," with writer director James Gunn bringing the space trilogy to a close. Star Lord Peter Quill leads the ragtag Guardians on another dangerous mission to defend the universe. The film is set to release in May.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is this man?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm her godfather.

MELAS (voice-over): Harrison Ford returns in June as the legendary archeologist "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny." It's been 15 years since we've seen Indy on the big screen and Ford says this is the fifth and final installment of the film franchise. In his newest adventure, Indy takes on former Nazis in an effort to help the US government beat Russia in the space race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

MELAS (voice-over): Oppenheimer explodes onto screens in July. Peaky Blinders actor Cillian Murphy stars as physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Christopher Nolan directs this drama about the father of the atomic bomb. The star-studded cast includes Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek and Matt Damon.

For much younger moviegoers, a much anticipated live action version of "The Little Mermaid" makes a splash in theaters in May. Up and coming star Halle Bailey plays the adventurous Ariel who falls for a dashing young prince while visiting the surface world. But a deal with the evil sea which Ursula puts her life in jeopardy. Chloe Melas, CNN.


KINKADE: Looking forward to seeing that one with my girls. We had so much more to come in this special coverage of New Year's Eve Live. And in just minutes, it's minutes to midnight in one of the world's oldest cities. Ahead we'll go to Athens, Greece. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Lynda and Christina. Happy New Year from the touring cast of "Anastasia the Musical." We're currently in CNN's home base of Atlanta, Georgia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to wish you, the team at CNN and all your viewers a wonderful 2023.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Happy New Year.

KINKADE: Thanks to the cast of "Anastasia." And welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. The New Year is just minutes away now in the historic city of Athens, Greece. And that's where journalist Elinda Labropoulou is standing by for us. Elinda, the excitement must be building right now.

ELINDA LABROPOULOU, JOURNALIST: It's a really exciting time right now because the crowds are just pouring in. The live show is underway and everybody's like looking at the watches, waiting for the count down to midnight and then the big fireworks display. There are people here from all over Greece and effectively from all over the world just waiting for the countdown.

KINKADE: And, Elinda, if your resolution is to get fit, I understand the first fun run of the New Year starts just minutes after midnight.

LABROPOULOU: Yes. Well, there are tons of celebrations that are going to go on right after midnight. One of them is this big fun run that's going to -- about 2,000 runners, as we know, have already registered. It's going to be the first healthy event of the year. Money is going to go to charity and proceeds from this fun run. It's a very popular event and what a good idea, what a great way to start the year.

KINKADE: Although most children around the world get presents on Christmas, I understand in Greece, a lot of children are expecting presents New Year's Day.

LABROPOULOU: Although it's getting incredibly loud, so I'm not entirely sure I heard the word children. So I assume you're asking me if there are children around. Yes, there are children around. You can see balloons, you can see the little hat. And you know, what's really exciting for children in Greece is that they get their gifts after midnight, so after the first of the year. So a lot of children are here just waiting to then go home and open their gifts because until now they've just been looking at them sitting under the tree, Lynda and Christina.

KINKADE: Well, the party's certainly getting well underway there in Athens, Greece. Elinda Labropoulou, we would check back with you in just a few moments. We're going to take a very quick break. Don't go anywhere. We will leave you with these pictures of the fireworks in Sydney earlier.




KINKADE: And New Year's Eve live, I'm Lynda Kinkade at CNN's World Headquarters here in Atlanta. This hour we will be live in Athens, Greece, as well as the Ukrainian capital of Kiev as the clock strikes midnight there in just under three minutes. We have our live correspondents counting down to the New Year for the next hour in Lagos, Paris and London. Over the next three hours, we will have a star-studded special for you. Take a look at what's to come.


KINKADE (voice-over): You're watching CNN New Year's Eve Live featuring appearances from White Lotus star Theo James.

THEO JAMES, ACTOR: Happy New Year.

KINKADE (voice-over): Oscar winning actress and author, Geena Davis.


KINKADE (voice-over): The cast and crew of the Neil Diamond Broadway show, "A Beautiful Noise." Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra, and special performances by R and B sensation Craig David.

CRAIG DAVID, SINGER: Happy, happy New Year.

KINKADE (voice-over): And pop star, Ellie Goulding.


KINKADE: Well, let's go now to Christina MacFarlane in London where she's watching the festivities and, of course, gearing up for 2023. And, of course, London are returning to its pre-COVID glory.

MACFARLANE: Yes. It's good to be with you, Lynda. Welcome to London. We are just about to welcome in 2023 across much of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, from Finland to South Africa, countries are in the last few moments of the old year. And tonight, Ukraine is set to hit midnight after a year that has brought war to the country that has forever changed the world. In Greece, Athens is celebrating with fireworks over some of the world's most revered ancient monuments. The clock is also about to strike 12 in Johannesburg, Cairo, Jerusalem and Beirut. Well, Elinda Labropoulou joins me now to show us how the Greek capital is ringing in the New Year. Elinda, just minutes to go there tell us what the scenes like.

LABROPOULOU: Oh, it's just all going crazy here. People are singing, they're dancing, they're waiting. There's a live show going on. We're going to have a countdown in a minute. Before I count down, there's one traditional song in Greece which talks about the passage of time, of how we move from one year to the next. And I expect that very soon we will be listening to this song. It's a song everybody knows. It's what all Greek sings just before this turning of the year. It's a song of remembering the good times and the bad times, and leaving the path behind as we move into the New Year.

I can hear that the Athens mayor is now on stage. She's going to be here for the change of the year. After that, Athens has promised a huge street party. So the entire city center will come together. There are lots of live venues, lots of things going on until the early morning hours.

It's a big tradition here for people to stay up all night to watch the first sunrise of the year and to very often just celebrate by having breakfast with friends. And what happens is hotels put out these lavish breakfast for people to get together and toast to the New Year. But we're getting ready for the count down here in Athens. You can hear the crowds around me and the count down -- this is it. Happy New Year from Athens, everyone. Happy New Year.