The Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee has selected “Gatsby” — a 1920s-themed party based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” — as the winner of its $5,000 Funding Competition.
“Gatsby,” which will be held on a Friday in mid-April in the Branford College courtyard, will feature jazz music performed by the Yale Jazz Ensemble and various vocalists, performances by theater groups acting as “Gatsby” characters dressed in period costumes designed by YCouture, period-specific appetizers and a signature Gatsby cocktail created by the Yale Culinary Society, UOFC chair Jennifer Przybylo ’07 said.
“The UOFC felt very strongly that this was a unique event that would appeal to students as it incorporates elements of literature, art, history and social commentary,” Pryzbylo said. “‘Gatsby’ … is, without question, an original idea that the UOFC is proud to support,” she said.
Przybylo said eight “excellent” proposals were submitted, but that the UOFC chose the event it felt most clearly fulfilled the goals of the competition.
“The competition was instituted to promote campus events that are original in concept, encourage inter-organizational cooperation and affect a large portion of the undergraduate student body,” Przybylo said.
Event Director Manuel Gonzales-Luna ’08 said a 1,000-square-foot dance floor will be installed in the Branford College courtyard for the party. Swing lessons will be offered prior to the event, Przybylo said.
Yale Jazz Ensemble Music Director David Brandenburg said the musicians will combine their year’s repertoire with period music, including pieces and arrangements by Duke Ellington. Brandenburg said he is looking forward to the collaborative aspect of the event.
“There are so many intelligent and talented people at Yale working on their own projects, but anything that gets everyone working together is very exciting,” he said.
YCouture fashion designer Samantha Amodeo ’08 said period costume designs have been assigned for each of the featured characters and that most of the sewing will be done during spring break.
Amodeo, who will design two costumes — including one for the character Daisy Buchanan — said she was initially hesitant when YCouture was asked to partake in the event.
“It was intimidating at first, because I was wondering if I could really design an authentic 1920s costume that people will be looking at,” she said.
Some students said they had mixed feelings about “Gatsby.”
Frances Cheng ’06 said she is unsure whether the amount of funding the event has received is appropriate.
“It sounds like they’re spending too much money for a party in Branford Courtyard,” she said. “It seems kind of frivolous, and it doesn’t really have a purpose.”
But Daniel Graves ’09 said he is looking forward to the event.
“I think it’s a good use of University funding,” he said. “‘The Great Gatsby’ has become an integral part of our national culture, and the event promises to bring that timeless world of Fitzgerald to Yale for all to enjoy.”
Celeste Ballard ’08 said she also thinks the event is a good use of college funds, but she said she is not sure if she will attend the event until she hears more about it.
“I’ll only go if they’re serving mint juleps,” Ballard said.
Other groups involved in the event include Yale Dance Ensemble and IGIGI, a student composer group.